The main aspect which could
define ‘personality’ is based on human differences, the way they think, act and
more important, behave. The study of psychology has as a dominant topic these
individual differences and the way they influence human’s behavior. The word
‘personality’ comes from Latin -persona- which means ‘mask’ and could be found
as ‘person’ in languages such as German, English and Spanish (Chamorro-Premuzic,
The behavior represents the
way someone acts in response to an action. This is not a characteristic only
for humans and it is also for non-human species. The behavior is described by
personality which shows how different people are among them and that they have
their own particularities which define them as individuals (Buchanan,
Thinking about the way
personality is used by psychologists to predict human behavior it can be said
that individual human characteristics are the main reason of why people act in
the way they do, having a big influence on their behavior (Ajzen, 2005).
There are some specific
characteristics of personality which could describe it for a better
understanding of how it works; these are: describing the individual in a
general way, presenting individual features of human, understanding causal
factors of the way they behave, showing both differences and similarities among
people (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016).
Knowing that there are
individual features among people, the way they act depends on their
temperament. In Hippocrates theory are found four types of temperament:
melancholic, choleric, sanguine and phlegmatic. Thinking about his theory,
individuals can be divided into four groups, each one has his own
particularities that make it different from others three (Chamorro-Premuzic,
The way people act is not
described only by personality traits, but also could be influenced by factors
as gender and age, but this will be discussed further in the next essay. For
example, Gray (1971) has a good point about differences between male and female
in the way they behave. Based on the endocrine system, the male is more
aggressive and cruel in many more situations than female. This depends on
species, for example, the rodent females are less fearful than the males and
this happens based on androgen circulation.
Some studies found that the
way personality influences behavior could be measured based on a behavioral
instrument; the DISC instrument classifies personality as Dominant, Influencer,
Steady and Conscientious. Each of them has its own features: Dominance-
control, power and assertiveness, Influence- social situations and communication,
Steadiness- patience, persistence and thoughtfulness, Compliance- structure and
organization (Slowikowski, 2005).
behavior, influence, BIG FIVE, DISC, action, individual differences,
The way a person acts it depends on
The researcher Bouchard,
(1994) presented that there are five main determinants of personality known as
‘BIG FIVE’. These are extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness,
agreeableness, openness and each of them represents something and expresses
some futures which make the difference among individuals.
An extroverted person is
sociable, talkative, active, dynamic, ambitious; being opposite to an
introverted person who is more reserved, retiring. The second type of
personality -neuroticism- is represented by an emotional person, his traits are
anxiety, depression, anger, insecurity, fear; being opposite to an emotionally
stable person who quickly gets over some bad experiences.The third type
-agreeableness- represents that person who is cooperative, tolerant, courteous,
forgiving; being opposite to an aggressive person who is unfriendly, cold and
vindictive. The fourth type, called Conscientiousness, presents that type of
person who is careful, responsible, playful; being opposite to an authoritarian
person who is impulsive, irresponsible and careless.The last dimension
-openness- talks about that person who is cultured, imaginative, original,
intelligent and artistically sensitive; being opposite to that person who is
unreflective, unintelligent and shallow (Barrick& Mount,1991 and Bouchard, 1994).
The psychologist Marston,
W. M. was interested in how individuals feel, behave and act within the world
around them and based on his research it was found the DISC behavioral
instrument. The dominant individual is intolerant, direct, strong worker, and
he behaves with a high level of enterprise and dynamism. The influencer
individual is persuasive, outgoing, creates a social environment and tends to
be good at delegating. The steady person is technically capable, able to teach,
reliable and laid back. The conscientious person can think fast and face
problems, is a perfectionist and exhaustive (Slowikowski, 2005).
To understand personality,
it could be useful to understand the temperament first. The experience of each
person influences and is influenced by his temperament. The temperament is a
mix of behaviors such as emotions, physical and mental traits (Rothbart, Ahadi
and Evans, 2000).
The human behavior is
directly influenced by some personal and social factors; from age, gender,
education, experience, personality to factors such as religion, social class,
culture and so on. As many factors which influence human behavior are
influenced by it too. The way people act has a big impact on the environment, every
individual feature has a contribution to environmental changes. For example,
people could contribute in a good or bad way to the way a lake is kept clean,
how clear is the air, how clean looks a city, a garden and all of these depends
on their behavior (Gifford & Nilsson, 2014).
Depending on the people’s
actions (the way they behave), they are alike to be considered in a specific
way; for example, if someone is caught lying, he will be considered a liar; if
someone acts poorly, he will be considered a person without will or motivation,
if someone help other, he will be considered a compassionate person. Therefore,
the behavior is influenced and also influences personality giving to every
human a title based on their features and actions (Ajzen, I, 2005).
Discussion and Critique
study made by Wilson (1982) on two pairs of three months old twins showed their
individual differences by involving them in the same actions with the same
people and creating them the same environment. The first intention with this
study was to express the impact on the environment and genetic influences on
behavior. The study presents every mom acting the same in the beginning and
then difference in response to their children personality.
A study based on the New
York study, made by Thomas & Chess (1977) presents a pair of monozygotic
twins adopted each of different families a birth. During preschool years they
presented similar temperament which shows some genetic determinations (Wilson,
Some psychologist state
that personality is gained at birth if not even before it and then is modeled based
on life experience. Others argue that individual differences are shaped by
social factors, environment and actions. Even with their different approach,
something is clear, that personality affects the individual behavior because is
flexible and change with every person experience (Buchanan, 2016).
‘The father of medicine’,
Hippocrates, correlated the four types of temperament with bodily dispositions,
like sanguine temperament linked with blood as body disposition, melancholic
with black bile, phlegmatic with phlegm and choleric with yellow bile. Even
though his theories are still used, there is no proof that there is any
relation between body chemistry and human behavior (Buchanan, 2016).
Based on Jung’s theory
about introversion and extraversion, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers create a
personality assessment named MBTI (Mayers-Briggs Type Indicator). They used
letter codes to express individual differences. Based on their traits, humans
could have one of the 16 personality types. Sensation, feeling, intuition and
thinking represent the four features which contribute to the four groups of
correlations, ST: Sensation-Thinking, NT: Intuition-Thinking, NF:
Intuition-Feeling and SF: Sensation-Feeling. Each one has his own
characteristics, grouping people in different sets (Buchanan, 2016).
Researchers have different
points of view and among studies, the connection between personality and
general behavior varies. The main finding presents that those adaptive
individual differences usually have a positive connection with
pro-environmental performance and attitudes (Costa & McCrae, 2012 by Poskus
& Zukauskiene, 2017). Even though there is a clear link between personality
and behavior, the correlation between the BIG FIVE traits and behavior may not
be so easily expressed, this topic is very interesting for many psychologists
who decide to research it more in-depth (Poskus & Zukauskiene, 2017).
The psychologist de
Castilla (2000) presents very clear the link between personality and behavior
talking about the Swiss psychologists Karl Koch and Emile Jucker findings. She
states that the two Swiss psychologists involved ‘the tree life’ in psychology,
they created the ‘Baum Test’ to find out about the human’s personality, his
individual differences. By drawing a simple tree on a blank paper, a person
transmits his feelings, emotions, personality and they could be read just
looking at the place the individual drew the tree on page, its dimensions, its
roots, the ground line, the trunk, the twigs, its crown, the other drawings on
the page as flowers, leaves, fruits, landscape, shadows, the way the pencil
line looks like and so on. Through this test, the unconsciousness is expressed,
showing the individual’s personality (de Castilla, 2000).
Psychology represents a
science which explains the individual’s behavior, what people do and why they
act in that way. To describe this, researchers use to talk about personality
and individual differences which cover the best this subject. They are looking
at how people differ and how they act in different circumstances based on their
personality traits (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016).
Most psychology studies present this
topic as a link between individual differences and the way people behave in
some situations. Psychologists found that there are many types of personalities
based on some people’s emotions, feelings and actions. The well now differences
are expressed through the four types of temperament (melancholic, choleric,
sanguine and phlegmatic) presenting humans in different ways and giving them a
label. The mode people behave send them into a particular group, where they are
better found based on the group’s features.
influence people behavior, not only personality. Gender, age, education are
only a few influences, the way a person acts could change, representing
Slowikowski (2005) found out that there is an instrument which can measure the
level of personality’s influence on behavior (DISC instrument). This instrument
classifies personality as Dominant, Influencer, Steady and Conscientious. Each
of them has its own characteristics that describe the human in a particular
way, presenting him different from the others.
The way people act in the
way they do is also influenced by others. Every human being tries
unconsciousness to become better than others, competing among them, there is a
need to be superior (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016). From this desire, people
individualize themselves and show their personality in the moment an action is
Reviewing most psychological
studies, it could be said that there is an obvious link between personality and
behavior. Behavior is influenced by the most part by individual’s differences,
but also by external factors which each person faces in everyday life.
Word count: 1799
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