Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. (adapted from the Encylopedia of Psychology).
What is Personality?
Verywellmind say: “While there are many different definitions of personality, most focus on the pattern of behaviors and characteristics that can help predict and explain a person’s behavior.” They have a good article (reviewed by David Susman PhD) setting out what is personality by showing its characteristics – defined as consistency, psychological and physiological aspects, behaviours and actions and how we express it (thoughts, feelings, interactions). It then covers how personality develops by looking at different schools of thought: Type theories (people are in different personality types), Trait theories (which view personality as as a result of genetically based internal characteristics e.g. agreeable, extravert, etc), Psychodynamic theories which emphasize the influence of the unconscious mind (Freud), Behavioural theories which suggest an interaction with the environment, and Humanist which emphasize free will and individual experience. See it in full here.
Personality tests are beloved by high school guidance counselors and self-help book authors — but less so by many scientists. There’s controversy among them over whether clear-cut personality types exist at all.
A large new study published in Nature Human Behavior, however, provides evidence for the existence of at least four personality types: average, reserved, self-centered and role model. Each one is based on the extent to which people display five different major character traits, including neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
“It seemed like personality traits were very well-accepted and established in psychometrics, but personality types were not,” says study co-author Luis Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University. “I just wondered, could it be that the reason why people haven’t been able to establish personality types was there wasn’t enough data?”
However, there are many different views on the 4, 12, 16 or whatever number personality types there are.