Introduction to personality

By Priya Chetty on November 23, 2011

According to John Watson, personality can be defined as the ability for humans to set goals, engage in social interactions, make rational decisions, and carry out goals and plans comes from the frontal lobes of the brain.

The term personality comes from the Latin word ‘persona’, meaning; Mask. Most writers define personality to be dynamic and characteristics an individual possess which would affect motivations, behaviours, goals and, cognitions in different stages of their life.  It is also reflected to the other stages of life including marriage, education, employment, business and investments. Other aspects of personality include trust, over confidence, propensity to maximize, success and regret. There is the essence of nature and nurture in personality. Personality combines nature with nurture. We know that some people are shy by nature and others are outgoing because even babies exhibit outgoing behavior or shy. But we also know that shy babies do not always grow into shy adults. Nurture can help shy children overcome their shy nature. In 1994, Zuckerman found that “sensation-seeking” behavior peaks in adolescence and diminishes with age [Brown, I.D., (1988)].

Personality is “the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or a group; especially: the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics.” Personality affects feelings, behavior, preferences, and thoughts. It also reflected in all the parts of life, including wages, schooling, teenage pregnancy, investments entrepreneurship, longevity, and crime [Birnbaum, M.H. (2000)].


  • Brown, I.D., & Groeger, J.A. Ergonomics, 1988.
  • Birnbaum, M.H. (2000). Psychological experiments on the Internet. New York: Academic Press.