• What is personality ?
o How might we describe someone’s personality?
▪ Out-going, charming, neurotic, happy….
o How can we begin to make sense of people’s personalities? (i.e. , an organized theory)
o How can we define “Personality?”
o Personality is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that
are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with,
and adaptations to the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments. (Larsen & Buss)
▪ Traits – a.k.a. tendencies, we are born with them, stable over time
▪ Mechanisms – things that change over time.
• Our information processing systems
▪ Organized and relatively enduring – they are consistent
▪ Intrapsychic- inner world of someone
• Adaptations to
o Personality serves adaptive function- accomplish goals, cope, adjust, respond to
▪ Behavior is goal directed, functional purposeful
o Even behaviours that don’t appear functional
• The environment
o Understanding person;s environment is also key for understanding personality
o Personality interacts with our environments which in turn interacts with us
▪ Physical environment
▪ Social environmanet
▪ Intapsychic environment
• Inner world
• E.g. thought, emotions, motivations, memories.
▪ Each environment contributes to our reality and personality interacts with
• Three levels of personality
o In some ways, every Human Being is…
▪ .... like all others
• Human Nature level of analysis
o What makes us all the same
o Have sense of humour, ability to feel amotions, metacognition
▪ .... like some others
• Group (and hence individual) Differences level of analysis
o What makes us different
▪ .... like no other
• Individual Uniqueness level of analysis
o The Most Interesting Man...in the World
• … that are organized
o Organization implies that we are talking about a theory