Chapter 2

Introduction to Personality Theory


If you were to ask four different personality psychologists for an exact definition of personality, you would probably get at least five different answers. One might include the preface, “Well, it’s difficult to give an exact definition of personality, but here’s one that works for most purposes.” And, indeed, for most purposes, defining personality as an individual’s typical or characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving will usually do. This definition leaves a surprising amount of room for debate, though. For instance, what do we mean by “typical” or “characteristic”? Most personality psychologists take it to mean something like relative stability; that is, personality is durable ...

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