Dimensions of Personality

dimensions of personality

Let me ask you a question. How many people have you met since you were a child? Thousands would be a reasonable answer. Another question is how many of these folks have personality traits in common? In terms of personality, a realistic answer is that none of them was comparable or identical. They may have displayed similar characteristics, such as extroversion, but not in the same quantity or in the same manner. As a result, you can deduce from your own observations that no two people in the world have the same personality.

This theory also holds true for identical twins. The question now is how to explain these variances in people’s personalities. Psychologists have defined various personality factors to explain personality variations based on research.

Now comes the question of what these dimensions are. These dimensions are actually categorical measures that help us analyse people’s behaviour in terms of their main characteristics, motivating force, temperament, and character. Traits, motivation, temperament, and character are the four categories of dimensions.

1. Traits

Traits are personality traits that compel an individual to behave consistently in diverse contexts. These characteristics can be used to compare people. These characteristics are referred to as “pretty permanent” because they do not alter over time. An introvert, for example, may no longer be an introvert after ten years. Some of the important traits are:

  • Introversion-extraversion;
  • Neuroticismstability
  • Psychoticism

a)  Introversion-extroversion

It’s a bipolar personality trait. Introverted people are primarily concerned with themselves. Idealistic, imaginative, shy, and reclusive, these people are idealistic, imaginative, shy, and secluded. They are led into the world of brooding, fantasising, and daydreaming by their predominance of thinking. These individuals take a long time to make judgments and are concerned about the future. Theoretical thinkers, such as philosophers, poets, scientists, and professors, are common examples.

Extroverts are more likely to participate in social activities. They are naturally sociable and social. Realistic, practical, communicative, and active are characteristics of such persons. They are more interested in taking on leadership roles. However, only a small percentage of the population is entirely extroverted or introverted. The majority of people lie somewhere in between, exhibiting both introversion and extroversion in their behaviour, and are so-referred to as Ambiverts.

Now comes the question of why some people are introverts and others are extroverts. Are there any physiological ramifications? Introverts and extroverts have different levels of cerebral excitation, according to studies. Because extroverts have a lower cortical excitation threshold, they can be activated with only a tiny quantity of stimuli. Because of this, they are looking for a thrill. Introverts, on the other hand, have a high level of cerebral excitation, therefore they are unaffected by stimuli from the outside world.

b)  Neuroticism stability dimension

This is a bipolar dimension as well. Neurotic people have certain personality traits and behavioural inclinations. They have a lack of emotional control and willpower, as well as a tendency to be slow in their mental processes and activities. Even the tiniest things irritate them. People with a high level of neuroticism have a high level of suggestibility but a low level of sociability. However, such persons are known for having a high level of emotional impulsivity.

People who are high instability, in contrast to neuroticism, are calm and don’t get easily upset or perturbed by conflicting situations. Even in the most trying of circumstances, they are able to maintain control. They can distance themselves from the situation and think about it objectively in order to make the best option. They are realistic and problem-solving oriented because of this feature.

When it comes to the physiological correlates of neuroticism and stability, it’s thought that those with high neuroticism have a more reactive autonomic nervous system. These folks are more susceptible to reactions to stimuli in the environment. People with a high cortical excitation threshold and higher autonomic reactivity had more acute and explicit symptoms of phobia, anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to studies.

c)  Psychoticism dimension

This personality feature is characterised by a lack of concentration and a poor recall. They’re also known for their lack of sensitivity. They are more concerned about themselves than they are about others. Their behaviour is marked by brutality and sensation-seeking, and they are unable to protect themselves from danger and risky situations.

d)  Internal and external locus of control

Internal or external control over reinforcement arising from an operating response to the environment is referred to as locus of control. In truth, it is the individual’s creation of a generalised expectation about how he will be reinforced. People who have an internal locus of control believe that skill, hard work, foresight, and a sense of responsibility may alter their fate and provide reinforcement. People with a high external locus of control believe that reinforcement is beyond their control and that they have no power over the outcome of events. Everything that happens is attributed to chance and happenstance.

Internal Locus of control subjectExternal locus of control subjects
1. Refrain from situations that threaten control over reinforcement.Not able to keep balance in situations of learned helplessness.
2. They like to maintain a certain probability of success.They show more conformity to social influence
3. Characterised with the independence of thinking.Depend on others for opinions to quite an extent.
4. When deciding about a target, make use of information present in the environment and their previous experiences in this regardEven in regard to target, they go by what others say
5. Give serious and long consideration before arriving at a decision.Take quick decisions
6. While arriving at a decision, they rely more on their skill than leaving things on chance factors.They discuss with others and take their opinions
7. More resistant to social influence.Get easily influenced by outside social factors.
Table 1: Characteristics of people with Internal and External Locus of Control

e) Field dependence–independence

This has to do with how people interpret information differently. Because he takes all information in a non-selective manner, a field-dependent person is directly influenced by stimuli and events in his environment, whereas a field independent person selects information from the world based on internal cues from within. The table below shows the differences between these two parameters.

Field -dependentField -independent
1. Goes by the cues available outside externallyIs endowed with capabilities that allow him to make effective use of his cognitive abilities
2. Less oriented towards problem-solving tasksMore oriented towards problem-solving tasks
3. Does not have the ability to reality monitoringHas better ability for reality monitoring in memory. Reality monitoring is the capacity to determine if the origin of the information is external or internal
4. More responsive to social stimuliLess responsive to social stimuli
5. Considered more friendly, considerate, and warm by othersConsidered less friendly and less warm by others.
Table 2: Differences between field dependent and field independent personalities

2. Motivation

Motivation is usually believed by psychologists to be required for a person to engage in a given behaviour. This personality dimension encompasses all motivational actions that, while driving a person toward a goal, result in distinct patterns of behaviour. Motivational dimensions include the following:

a) Achievement motive dimension

It refers to the drive that drives a person to work in a way that ensures their success. People with high achievement motivation are characterised by the following aspects:

  • Liking for tasks that have high probability of success.
  • Accomplish those tasks on which comparison is possible.
  • Tasks that reflect personal characteristics are more liked by people high on achievement motivation
  • Success on a given task makes achievement oriented people raise their aspiration level.
  • Such people like to work in situations where they have control over outcome so that they can determine whether success would be coming or not.
  • Achievement motivation reflects gender differences. Usually girls are less achievement oriented as compared to boys.
  • Presence of achievement motivation in a person depends on independence training. For example, children of parents who allow and motivate their offspring to do things for themselves are more achievement oriented as compared to children of parents who are over indulgent with their offsprings.

b) Power motive dimension

This is a personality trait that drives a person to assert his or her power and suzerainty over others. Through menace or appeal, such people can persuade others to follow their orders. The following are characteristics of people with high power motives:

  • Such persons whether he is playing a game or is in real war with other person tries his best to eliminate the opponent.
  • Person with high power motivation are often intolerant of low socio economic strata persons. Such people treat others on the basis of power scale so that those less powerful are considered inhuman while those above them in thepower scale are attributed all qualities. Thus high power motivation people are quite aggressive and impulsive toward low social status people.
  • Such people are found of collecting antiques and expensive things which they readily show to cast impression on others.

c) Affiliation motive dimension

Humans are a social species. They prefer to live in communities with other individuals of their own species. People with a high level of affinity are outgoing and liberal. The connection has two dimensions: a positive one that reflects the desire for affiliation, and a negative one that reflects the fear of rejection. Individual variances in affiliation motive can be identified, much like in accomplishment motivation.

d) Approval motive dimension

It regulates the behaviours we engage in in order to gain the approval and appreciation of others. When this drive is functioning, it causes us to seek societal approval for our ideas and responses. To become an acceptable member of society, we follow the dos and don’ts of society.

3. Temperament

Temperament is the third most important aspect of a person’s personality. It refers to the totality of a person’s emotional and affective tendencies. Temperament is described by adjectives such as sensitivity, impatience, anxiousness, and pleasantness. Temperament is said to be an innate trait of a person, meaning it is there at birth.

4. Character

We mean moral excellence when we talk about character. Character, as a dimension of personality, denotes a person’s morality or immorality. It is a taught feature of personality that develops through time as a result of socialisation. Consciousness is another name for it. It resembles Freud’s superego in that it represents the do’s and don’ts. Individuals who violate their conscience get guilt pangs.

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