The term personality is often understood to be one who impresses other people and who has not the ability is said to have relatively poor personality. However, if one considers personality form a scientific point of view, being attractive to others is not a true concept of personality.
There are following characteristic features of personality, which almost cover every general aspect of personality:
Potentiality for Change
The earlier psychoanalytical view did hold personality as a rigid structure. However, modern humanistic theories have demonstrated not only the human has the capacity for reorganisation but also the conditions do foster change. Integration or organisation is the quality of the human personality, i.e. it occurs to human beings naturally and normally. It is the normal development outcome of personality structure. Disorganisation, i.e. the isolation of the functions of the individual parts from the total system, is a pathological condition (Goldstein) of a psychological disorder.
Unique Adjustment to Environment
Every person is characterised with a dynamic organisation of psychological traits that makes his/her adjustment. The reason for this is that experiences of every person are unique. Therefore, their reaction to the environment is also unique. We may notice that even identical twins who come out of the same embryo, though have same genetic makeup, react differently to the same situation because their frame of references is unique.
Development of Personality Structure
Personality development is the natural quality of a growing organism. The path is from simple to increasingly complex factors and situations an individual has to pass by. According to Heinz Werner, at birth, the mental organisation of the infant expands slowly. Through interaction with the environment, the parts of the child’s mental structure become progressively crystallised and differentiated from each other. The analytical stage is followed by synthesis or integration when the differentiated parts become functionally organised. From a diffused mass through progressive differentiation to an integrated whole is, then the course of development of personality structure.
As a system, personality has both psychological and physical aspects. This system is composed of interacting elements and the main elements of the system are traits, emotions, intellect, temperament, character and motives. All these elements are psychological but they are based in the neurology and endocrinology of the body.
Personality is conscious in that it develops out of our interaction with the environment. This interaction results in the formation of the concept of self. Self-concept means who we are and what we stand for. All the responses of a human being are oriented towards protection of the self-concept.
Consistency or stability is the hallmark of personality. A person is recognisable from the situation to the situation by the consistent characteristics that are reflected in his behaviour. Not that he behaves exactly the same way in every situation but his styles of action can certainly be identified.
It signifies that different elements of the psychological system are independent but function in an interlocking manner and are subject to change. However, this change can take place over a period of time in a gradual manner.