12/26/07

What is 'personality'?

Got to read two scintillating quotes on 'personality' today which contradict each other.

Here is the first one:

The greatest Polish psychologist of the 20th century (1864-1934) Warren says, "Personality is the total of an individuals thoughts ideals, intentions, feelings and physical characteristics, which distinguishes him from others."

To paraphrase Warren, he implies that personality is the sum total of an individual which differentiates him from others. That's fine.

However Psychiatrist Allport (1861-1935) says, "Personality is what a man really is." His definition is more generalised but his broad classification stops with the individual. He does not allude to or compare one individual to another.

Which begs the question- what is 'personality'? Is it the characteristics of an individual or is it the sum total of his characteristics which distinguishes one individual from the other?