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What is Personality Psychology?

If you are fascinated by people and what makes them tick, the field of personality psychology might be of interest to you. This academic discipline covers the variations among personality patterns and characteristics. It also compares the similarities and differences between individuals, along with the underlying causes for these. Read on to learn more about this exciting field and what it might offer for you.

About the Psychology of Personality

Personality encompasses a number of factors. Among these are a person's thoughts, behaviors and feelings. The field of personality psychology examines the formation of personality, where it comes from and how it affects individuals. There are varying views of these concepts, based on the branch of psychology from which they are derived. Each specialization approaches personality from their own lens. For example, developmental psychology looks at the various stages of one's life and the ways in which maturity allows one to make meaning of experiences. Cognitive psychologists will examine one's ways of thinking and neurological capabilities with regard to personality.

Personality Theories

Let's take a look at some of the more commonly accepted personality theories that make up this field. You may recognize psychodynamics as being associated with Freud, who believed that personality comes from the transference of psychic energy into behavioral form. It was Freud who divided personality into its part of id, ego and super-ego. Behavioral psychological takes a different approach to personality. These theorists see personality as an internal mechanism that is conditioned through exposure to outside stimuli. Cognitive psychology is one other branch that heavily influences the study of personality theory. This philosophy examines the interactions between cognitions, emotions and environment. In addition, many modern views of personality take other sciences into consideration such as those of biopsychology, genetics and evolution.

Resource: The Top 50 Doctoral Programs in Counseling Psychology

Personality Testing

Personality tests fall under two categories. These are objective and projective. The objective type of test approaches personality from the assumption that it is something one is cognitively capable of recognizing. These are scientifically-based tests that use standard experimental procedures for analysis. Projective type personality assessments take an opposite approach in which personality is not able to accessed in a cognitive manner. These tests use more ambiguous methods such as ink blots or pictures to elicit individual responses. Both types of exams are useful and can offer a number of very valid results. Each must be used in appropriate contexts.

Personality psychologists are a group of professionals with a very narrow focus. They look at the differences between individual personalities and the ways ins which they are formed. Though these experts study one subject, personality, they can use different lenses to study it. Therefore, there are various philosophies that influence this branch of psychological theory. Personality theory is a very diverse discipline that encompasses a wide number of concept from a broad array of perspectives. The discipline of personality psychology is one that is quite comprehensive and is derived through the thorough examination of personality formation, response to external stimuli and types of change throughout the lifespan.