“Personality” is a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences their environment, cognitions, emotions, motivations, and behavioural science in various situations. The word “personality” originates from the Latin persona, which means mask.

Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. Its areas of focus include:


  • Construction of a coherent picture of the individual and their major psychological processes.
  • Investigation of individual psychological differences.
  • Investigation of human nature and psychological similarities between individuals
  • Personality has to do with individual differences among people in behaviour patterns, cognition and emotion

The term “personality trait” refers to enduring personal characteristics that are revealed in a particular pattern of behaviour in a variety of situations. Individual differences in personality have many real life consequences. Personality can be determined through a variety of tests. The most popular technique is the self-report inventory — a series of answers to a questionnaire that asks participants to indicate the extent to which sets of statements or adjectives accurately describe their own behaviour or mental state.

Personality also refers to the pattern of thoughts, feelings, social adjustments, and behaviours consistently exhibited over time that strongly influences one’s expectations, self-perceptions, values, and attitudes. It also predicts human reactions to other people, problems, and stress

Personality assessment, the measurement of personal characteristics. Personality tests may potentially be useful in personnel selection. Assessment is an end result of gathering information intended to advance psychological theory and research and to increase the probability that wise decisions will be made in applied settings (e.g., in selecting the most promising people from a group of job applicants). The approach taken by the specialist in personality assessment is based on the assumption that much of the observable variability in behaviour from one person to another results from differences in the extent to which individuals possess particular underlying personal characteristics (traits). The assessment specialist seeks to define these traits, to measure them objectively, and to relate them to socially significant aspects of behaviour.

The assessment specialist seeks to define these traits, to measure them objectively, and to relate them to socially significant aspects of behaviour. A distinctive feature of the scientific approach to personality measurement is the effort, wherever possible, to describe human characteristics in quantitative terms.

Personality testing is very helpful because it

  • Tells us about a person’s coping in general with stress and life, sometimes by creating a stressful situation in the act of testing, giving us a chance to watch the person react, make sense of something that is senseless, or assign meaning to things and explain their thoughts
  • Tells us about how a person copes with specific stressful situations or demands, and more about how they are handling matters now (e.g., seriously depressed and suicidal).
  • Can answer some question put to us by others, like ability to hold some job, reach some goal, or likelihood of behaving in some way.
  • Can guide therapy and provide self-understanding for the client regarding strengths and weaknesses.
  • Can provide information on resources and problem solving styles, impulses and impulse control, coping skills, level of adjustment, Emotional liability or stability, emotional coping (master of my emotions or slave to them), insight into feelings and their sources, specific feelings that may be hard to deal with, affective sense of oneself (good vs. bad, strong vs. vulnerable), and defences.
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