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Introduction to Personality

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Introduction to Personality

On a daily basis, personalities are evaluated and described whether or not it is a realization in the eyes of the person assessing another person or people. While the evaluations and descriptions may be informal, the assessments are usually focused on individuals while psychologist will focus their assessment on a conception that will apply to everyone. This paper will define personality, examine the theoretical approach in the study of personality and analyze factors that may influence and individual's personality development.

The term personality "is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique" (Cherry). The term personality focuses on the more prominent areas of an individual's life. The focus is on a person's outward appearance is sad or happy, dull or smart, or energetic or spiritless. When defining personality, most definitions will refer to a person's mental system. This accumulation of psychological collections includes emotions, motives and thoughts.

When examining the theoretical approaches to the study of personality, "People sometimes confuse theory with philosophy, or speculation, or hypothesis, or taxonomy" (Jess Feist, 2009). Scientists use theories to use logic and deductive reasoning to formulate hypotheses that are testable. A theory starts with a set of assumptions that are not facts, but ideas that will either be proven to be true or untrue. Logical deductive reasoning is used by the person doing the research to develop and formulate a hypothesis. They hypothesis must be testable otherwise it is considered worthless and cannot be used to develop the theory.

In evaluating theory and its relatives, philosophy is a tool that is used by the scientists in their search for knowledge in the study of personality. Philosophy is defined as an "Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods." (The Free Dictionary by FARLEX) Philosophers pursue their wisdom by reasoning and thinking and focus on what should be or ought to be. Because philosophy focuses on should be or ought to be, they conclusions and deductions are not based on scientific facts and therefore, they cannot be considered theories.

Theories also rely on speculation; however, there must be controlled observations of the scientists doing the speculating. There is a relationship between science and theory. Science studies classification of data and observation that validate general laws that are verified through testing the hypotheses. The hypothesis is a prediction that is specific enough to the situation that it can be tested using the scientific method. When the hypothesis is tested, the result of the testing will either contradict the theory or support the theory.

"Taxonomy is a classification of things according to their natural relationships" (Jess Feist, 2009). A taxonomy is important in developing the science by as it assists in classify the data science so it can become a theory. When the taxonomy begins to generate testable theories, and assist in explaining research findings, they can evolve into theories. It is then capable of making suggestions of hypotheses and will assist in explanations for results in research.

There are six different criteria that are used to determine the usefulness of a scientific theory. The first criteria is the question does a theory generate research of the theory? A theory that is useful will generate descriptive research as well as hypothesis testing. Descriptive research focuses on labeling, measuring, and categorizing the theory building process. Descriptive



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