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Kendra Cherry

Major Theories of Personality

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideDecember 5, 2008

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Our personality touches every aspect of our daily life, so it's little wonder that the study of personality is one of the largest topics within psychology. In order to understand personality, it is important to start by defining what we mean when we say personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made up the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique. In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.

A number of psychology's most famous figures have proposed a variety of theories to explain how and why our personalities develop as they do. The following are just a few of these well-known theories of personality:
  • Freud's Theory of Psychosexual Development
    According to Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, there are three elements of personality--the id, the ego, and the superego. Learn more about how these elements work together to influence behavior.

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs emphasizes the importance of self-actualization and is often pictured as a pyramid. Learn more about the five levels in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

  • Trait Theory of Personality
    Trait theory of personality suggests that personality is composed of a number of broad traits. Learn more about the trait theory of personality.

If you're studying personality psychology this semester or just have an interest in the subject, spend some time reviewing some of these major theories.

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