There exists many theories of personality, and of these nearly all avoid defining what exactly the stuff of personality is. The Big 5 theory is the easiest of theories to comprehend. This theory explains that we are unique individuals whose personalities are different, but that differences are only in degree. The Big 5, refer to the following traits, that they are in each of us:
1] AGREEABLENESS: this trait implies we all have varied temperments, diplomatic skill, and that we are easy or difficult to get along with;
that we hold people’s health, well~being in high regard, and that we can suppress the ‘self’ for others’ benefit;
3] EXTROVERSION: the degree to which we seek new experiences, adventure, and independence;
4] OPENNESS: the ability to share our ideas, feelings, and beliefs with others;
5] EMOTIONAL STABILITY: the degree to which we are affected by stress, whether our behavior is consistent over time.
We can draw interesting inferences simply by understanding these definitions. Also, we can safely state that people each have a greater absence or presence of each of these traits, and that these variations make up our behavioral inclination, thus, global personality. This term can be defined, in my opinion, as follows:
PERSONALITY IS THE MANIFESTATION OF OUR EXPERIENCES AND BIOLOGY THAT HAS SHAPED A CONSISTENT GROUP OF BEHAVIORS THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS’ WHEN MEASURED AGAINST BASE PROSOCIALITY.
Why this definition? Since experts cannot agree upon a term (across many academic fields), we look to how the social sciences define Personality Disorder, and flip it on its head. A personality disorder then, points to ”any mental disorder manifested by maladjustments in motivation and maladaptive patterns relating to ones social environment” (Reber, 2005: 527).
Now we are getting deeper! We know that using this theory, we each develop~more or less~of each of these traits; that if we imagine traits along a spectrum, say from 1~to~10, we can build a simple profile of who our traits claim we are if you assign yourself 5 personal numbers. From that set of numbers we can hypothesize what we would do in particular situations.
And we can also learn where to strengthen our ‘selves’!
Personality is a part of us that people try to measure everyday. Quantifying personality, that is, measuring it, is of benefit to business, education, and criminology (by design, the areas that the RippleFX Foundation operates).
Personality change can alert people to disease (alcoholism) or disorder (depression). Personality, is considered an inflexible thing, alterable only through life~changing events (war~PTSD; birth~post~partem depression), or other trauma.
Personality (behaviorial propensities) however, can also be consciously re~molded!
Introducing how behavior develops into personality is one goal of The RippleFX Foundation. We are working to reinforce the prosocial side of our Big 5 traits in the criminal justice system now! See our Criminal Justice page to download actual copies of our research~based publications. These workbooks were designed to enrich extroversion, openness, agreeableness, conscienciousness, and emotional stability. Please sponsor a class or download a copy for a loved one. Help us further our community efforts by purchasing a ripplefx.org t~shirt via email, or donate to us at any Bank of America location.
What is your personality profile? Where can you use development? Are you a parent? If so, remember this post and use these concepts. Your child’s future may depend on it.
-Aurther Reber and Emily Reber. DICTIONARY OF PSYCHOLOGY. N.Y. Penguin, 2005.
-Photo of brainscan by, Bill Bosking.