What is Personality?

When psychologists talk of personality, they mean a dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system.

Rather than looking at parts of the person, personality looks at some aggregate whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.

The most frequently used definition of personality was produced by Gordon Allport nearly 70 years ago. He defined personality as:

‘the dynamic organisation within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment’.

For our purposes, you could think of personality as the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others. It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits.

Copyright of the Pivot Institute 2015