Personality Psychology

In this subdiscipline: 7,508 papers

Discipline summary

Personality is an individual's characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior. Unlike most subfields of psychology, which study specific topics such as perception, memory, emotions, or relationships; personality psychology strives to study the whole person. Personality psychology addresses both consistencies and inconsistencies in what is called the psychological triad: how people think, feel, and behave. Personality psychology is most closely aligned with clinical psychology, which studies abnormalities within the whole person, but also integrates material from social, cognitive, developmental, and biological psychology. Trying to understand everything about the whole person at once is virtually impossible, so most personality psychologists specialize in particular approaches that ask limited questions.

The trait approach asks how people differ and how we can measure these differences.
The biological approach asks how genes, neurotransmitters, hormones, and brain structure evolved and how they affect personality.
The psychoanalytic approach asks how the unconscious—the part of our mind of which we are unaware—influences thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
The phenomenological approach asks how conscious choices and interpretations of reality lead to creativity, freedom, happiness, and a meaningful life.
The learning and cognitive processes approach asks how experiences change people and how individuals adapt to new situations.

Because the founders and followers of each approach sometimes argue that their approach is superior to others, the five approaches may seem competitive.

Popular papers

  1. In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator…
  2. Five studies tested two general hypotheses: Individuals differ in their use of emotion regulation strategies such as reappraisal and suppression, and these individual differences have implications for affect, well-being, and social relationships.…
  3. The present study used meta-analytic techniques (number of samples = 92) to determine the patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course. Results showed that people increase in measures of social dominance (a facet of…
  4. The capacity to control emotion is important for human adaptation. Questions about the neural bases of emotion regulation have recently taken on new importance, as functional imaging studies in humans have permitted direct investigation of control…
  5. In the current study, opposite-sex strangers had 10-min conversations with a possible further date in mind. Based on judgments from partners and observers, three main findings were produced. First, judgments of attractiveness/vitality perceptions…
  6. Gray (1981, 1982) holds that 2 general motivational systems underlie behavior and affect: a behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and a behavioral activation system (BAS). Self-report scales to assess dispositional BIS and BAS sensitivities were…
  7. Psychology calls itself the science of behavior, and the American Psychological Association’s current ‘‘Decade of Behavior’’ was intended to increase awareness and appreciation of this aspect of the science. Yet some psychological subdisciplines…
  8. The five-factor model has recently received wide attention as a comprehensive model of personality traits. The claim that these five factors represent basic dimensions of personality is based on four lines of reasoning and evidence: (a) longitudinal…

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