Saturday, April 18, 2020

Journal 2 Chapter 11- The Personality Psychologists

Chapter 11 covers the psychology of personality and discusses “What accounts for the differences in characteristics of individuals and their behavior?” (Hunt 354). This topic has always interested me, especially because there is no clear answer to it, and because of the many factors that play a role in making up one’s personality. Some factors are difficult to measure, such as subconscious memories and genetic predispositions. Other factors may be a little more obvious, like one’s culture and upbringing. Personality has been questioned on record for centuries, beginning in tenth century B.C. Ideas such as astrology, phrenology, and the humoral theory of temperament have all been accepted in the past as indicators of personality, but as humans advance their knowledge, these ideas have been nullified. To this day, it is argued whether personality is dependent on nature or nurture. In other words, “Are our minds and behavior the products of inner forces, or are we shaped and prodded into thought and action by the stimuli of the environment?” (Hunt 356). Interestingly, this debate has been a controversial topic since Plato's theory that personality is present before birth. Others, like Protagoras and Democritus believed that “all knowledge arises from perception” (Hunt 356). These two philosophers viewed personality on the opposite end of the spectrum from Plato, and argued that experiences within the environment is the sole component leading to one’s personality. Neither of these views have been proven nor disproven, and it is widely accepted that the development of our personalities depend on a little bit of both nature and nurture combined. For now, some of the best ways to measure one’s personality is through personal documents and histories (such as diaries), ratings by observers (asking questions about one’s character traits from friends/acquaintances), questionnaires (such as one's pertaining to how respondents would act in real-life situations), and conduct sampling or performance testing (e.g. observing individuals in particular situations). The many possible factors responsible for personality are difficult to pinpoint, but for now, we have a decent start in this area of research. 
The purpose of this chapter is to provide knowledge on this age-old topic which is still controversial today. The relayed information on personality research since it began allows the reader form a better understanding of the changing views and the current direction of research on personality. The question this chapter focuses on is finding the factor(s) responsible for our personalities. My point of view is in support of John Locke’s idea that we are born with a “blank slate” and that all people have the ability to choose their own path. At the same time, I believe that biological factors play a major role in one's personality, but we have the ability to change or override traits if we choose.


  1. Hi Shannon, I thought you did a great job covering this topic. I liked how you used quotes from the book to highlight your analysis. I also liked how you highlighted the nature vs. nurture debate. I definitely feel like I could've went more into that in my post so I think it was great that you mentioned it. Lastly, I liked how you shared your own views on personality and the blank slate theory.

  2. Shannon, what a lovely an in depth post! I enjoyed how like me you examined the methods of behavioral interpretations. I found these to be very important when understanding how researchers begin to understand behavioral interpretations. I enjoyed your use of quotes from the text as these strengthened your topics of discussion!