Hello again! This is my first research round for my inquiry question “where does personality come from“. Today I hope to be looking into where in the brain personality is controlled and some of the theories as to how we gained our own individual and unique personalities in the first place.
There are so many factors that contribute to our personalities. But where exactly does our personality originate? Our personality is controlled by our frontal lobe. (4) The frontal lobe is, as you may have guessed, at the front of the brain.
There are four lobes in your brain each with different functions. The frontal lobe is the largest lobe and is in charge of organization, planning, managing emotions and of course, controlling personality (4). Damage to the frontal lobe can create changes in personality. The frontal lobe is very important and unfortunately very vulnerable because of its location at the front of the brain. (5)
Now that we have covered where personality originates, I’m going to talk about some possible theories as to how it originates.
Nature VS. Nurture
One of the biggest yet most controversial theories as to how our personalities came to be is the topic of nature vs. nurture. They are two very different beliefs as to how we got our personalities in the first place. Those who believe more in the nature side of the argument believe that our genes and early stages of life create our personality. It states that we inherit our personality from our parents and we are basically born with it already planned for us. Those who believe more in the nurture side of the argument believe that experiences altar and create our personality and that our personalities are effected by our environment. (1)
So far, there is no clear winner to this debate and it has been determined that both are very important to forming your personality and that both nature and nurture are in-fact true (1). The idea of the nature and nurture argument is what I based my research question and I plan to go into deeper discussion about each in future research rounds.
Hereditary, Environment and Situations
This is a very similar theory to our nature vs. nurture theory. Hereditary is basically the same as nature with your genes and environment is the same as nurture with the environment affecting personality. But, this theory offers another view; situations. It states that your personality is shaped through the experiences you go through. Whether traumatic, thrilling or delightful, the experiences leave imprints on you which influence your personality. (3)
The next theory I will be talking about was developed by an extremely successful psychologist and neurologist named Sigmund Freud who you may have heard of before. Freud was more of a believer in the nature side of things and believed that most of the development in personality ends at around 18 years of age (3). One of his beliefs included the idea of three main components that shape personality: the id, the ego and the superego. (2) The “id” is the personality that we are born with. It is the base of your personality that allows you to recognize you needs and desires. The “ego” is basically the steering wheel for the id. It sets the initial needs and desires strait and allows you to focus in a realistic manner. Finally, the “superego” combines all of our beliefs, needs or desires and acknowledges what we learned from our environment. (2)
So far, I have talked about some possible theories as to how personality is or was developed. But now, I’m going to end by talking about how some psychologists try to determine personality. Or in other words, I’ll be talking about one of the biggest and possibly most accurate personality test types. Psychologists have determined that most people fall under or are a mix of these five traits: Openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Openness, or openness to experience, relates to those with creative personalities and people who are often curious and imaginative. Conscientiousness relates to those who are driven or self motivating and can be relied upon to get a job done. Extroversion relates to those who find pleasure in being with others and are often confident and outgoing. Agreeableness relates to kindness and loving individuals who are always there for others. Finally, neuroticism relates to those who are generally pessimistic or worrisome. (6) One of the reasons why I chose to research on this particular personality type, is because scientists have been trying to develop a base for determining common personality science the late 1800’s. These were the five they came up with and the five will probably change again. (6)
Personality is extremely unique in everyone. In this first research round, we covered some of the big ideas about personality and how it was formed. in my second and third research rounds, I hope to dive in a little deeper on how personality was formed. I will be asking how much of our personality are we born with? and how does our genetics influence our personality? Thank you so much for reading and I hope you learned something new!