A personality is as a relatively lasting pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterises a person’s response to his or her environment. It is thusunderlying causes within the person’s or individual’s behavior and experience. Allport and Murray define personality as “the sum-total of the actual or potential behaviour-patterns of the organism, as determined by heredity and environment.” They also say that it originates and develops through the functional interaction of the four main cognitive sectors into which these behaviour-patterns are organized. They include intelligence, character, temperament, and constitution.

Personality, therefore, includes reference to individuality and consistency within a particular personality over time and across distinct life situations that is clearly influenced by varying social traits and psychological aspects relative to behavioural circumstances. Personality also includes eliciting causative factors of certain patterns of behavior by which an internal dimension stands apart from other contextual factors that are internal.

The Precursors to Personality Theory


Phrenology is developing an understanding between human intellect, the size and the shape of a human skull, which is done through the study of the shape of the skull. The foundation of this phenomenon is grounded on the fact that the brain corresponds with the shape of the head and its contours. Franz Joseph Gall in his book ‘The Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General and of the Brain in Particular” puts forth some points on which phrenology was based in general, and they imply that exercise or manifestation depends on organization; the brain is an organ of all the propensities, sentiments, and faculties; brain is composed of many particular organs as there are different propensities which differ from one another; and that the form of the head represents the form of the brain thus representing the development of the brain.


Physiognomy is a science that is applied to judge a person’s disposition and trait based on his or her anatomy. It, therefore, plays a major role in the way Chaucer describes the pilgrims in his :Canterbury Tales” especially when determining a person’s social status and wealth (Chaucer & Andrew, 1993). Earlier, physiognomy was used to pass judgment and characterize people based on physical appearance.


Graphology is a simple psychological tool used as a key to interpreting the personality clues found in handwriting. It is, therefore, a clear indication that personality is expressed in words, gestures, and actions. Thus, graphic indicators of personality are provided by handwriting even more accurately than by any other kind of non-verbal communication, which can be regarded as a short appraisal providing a personality test which is often carried out and gives  almost perfect personality word picture.

Word-association Test

In Dr Jung’s study, he used this approach on his psychiatry patients to investigate the emotional reactions of his patients. He, therefore, conducted this word-associated test to enable him understand personality based on emotional reactions.

Major Theories of Personality

Type Theory of Personality

According to Kuzmeski’s analysis on Myers-Briggs personality types, this theory suggests that personality comes in a number of distinct qualitative groups. Personality types are thus categories of people with similar characteristics (Kuzmeski, 2009).

Trait Theory of Personality

In this theory, its basic variables are people’s traits and their broad predispositions to respond in particular ways (Pervin & John, 2001, p. 226).  It tries to identify a common set of traits that can be used to describe the personality of any individual. Personality traitsare thus relatively enduring personal characteristics that reveal themselves in a particular pattern of human behaviour in different situations. They attempt to concentrate different descriptors into a number of basic personality characteristics that people consistently show in order to predict and understand human behaviour.

Psychoanalytic Social Theory of Personality

According to Karen Horney’s book, “Psychoanalytic Social Theory”, this theory is based on the fact that cultural and social conditions, particularly childhood experiences, that are responsible for the development of the personality. So, people whose needs for affection  and love were not satisfied in childhood start developing hostilitytowards their parents consequently suffering from anxiety

Phenomenological Theory of Personality

The primary focus of the phenomenological theory is the individual’s subjective experience of their world, that is, their phenomenological experience (Pervin & John`, 2001).  In particular, people’s subjective experience of themselves or their self-concept, is seen as the core of individuals’ personalities. Among the most prominent of the phenomenological theories of personality is the self theory of Carl Rogers (Pervin & John, 2001).

Social Learning Theory of Personality

The theory assumes that learning involves watching the surroundings and other people and imitating them that takes into consideration cognitive learning, latent learning, and observational learning that involves learning by watching the acts of other people and the environmental reaction. Social learning can also be an imitation that involves observing and copying the behavior of those around the environment.

Empirical Theory of Personality

A number of disciplines of practical philosophy need some action on theoretical foundation.  However, the action theoretical information requires usually includes also empirical theories about action. Thus, when dealing with the philosophy of law responsibility, there is one of the recipes – it is important to perfectly disclose conditions that make it possible or impossible to ascribe an action to the agent or that raise or diminish it. This idea thus lies on the empirical theory that relies on information about the inner sources of people’s actions. 

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