CHAPTER 6

Where Does Personality Come From?

There has existed a debate among psychologists for some time about where somebody gets his or her personality. One camp argues for the “trait theory,” which states that internal factors (think genetics) are what shape a person’s temperamental makeup. The opposing side of the argument holds to the “social learning theory,” that personality is molded by forces outside of the person, such as operant conditioning.

This is the classic question of “nature versus nurture,” and it’s a debate that can be held over pretty much any human condition (whether it’s cancer, diabetes, or the common headache). Both what we are made up of (internal, genetics, and so on) and the environment (the external, what happens ...

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