Personality (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
The unique pattern of psychological and behavioral characteristics by which each person can be distinguished from other people.
Personality is fundamental to the study of psychology. The major systems evolved by psychiatrists and psychologists since Sigmund Freud to explain human mental and behavioral processes can be considered theories of personality. These theories generally provide ways of describing personal characteristics and behavior, establish an overall framework for organizing a wide range of information, and address such issues as individual differences, personality development from birth through adulthood, and the causes, nature, and treatment of psychological disorders.
Type theory of personality
Perhaps the earliest known theory of personality is that of the Greek physician Hippocrates (c. 400 B.C.), who characterized human behavior in terms of four temperaments, each associated with a different bodily fluid, or "humor." The sanguine, or optimistic, type was associated with blood; the phlegmatic type (slow and lethargic) with phlegm; the melancholic type (sad, depressed) with black bile; and the choleric (angry) type with yellow bile. Individual personality was determined by the amount of each of the four humors. Hippocrates' system remained influential in Western...
(The entire section is 1286 words.)
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