n Psychology, personality, temperament and character are three concepts used to express ways of thinking and feeling, and therefore are very related to each other. But this great affinity often causes their meanings to be confused. To use the terms of personality, temperament and character with discretion, we will try to delimit them and size them in a simple way. For this, before we begin to see their differences, we must realize clearly that temperament and character are two dimensions of personality. That is, both are essential components of the latter. In psychology, personality, temperament and character are three concepts used to express ways of thinking and feeling.
How to differentiate personality, temperament and character?
Temperament: When we speak of temperament, we mean that innate part of our personality that is determined by our genetic inheritance. Therefore, it is considered the biological and instinctive dimension of the personality. In fact, temperament is the first factor of the personality to manifest.In babies it is possible to distinguish different types of temperament. Thus, depending on their tendency to feel and manifest positive or negative emotions and a good or bad mood, it is possible to consider them “easier” or “difficult” children in behavioral terms. Being of genetic origin and fruit of the hereditary constitution, the temperament can hardly be modified, manipulated or changed by the circumstances. Always, somehow, there will be this tendency; although it is no less true that we can use resources to increase or inhibit their manifestation. If we were an iceberg, temperament would always be part of the submerged portion, and may exert some control to modify the way it manifests in the portion discovered.
Hippocrates and Galen the moods: The theory of the four humors, enunciated by Hippocrates in Ancient Greece, was one of the first that tried to explain the temperament. This doctor considered that both the person’s personality and state of health depended on the balance between four types of substances: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm and blood. He called them bodily moods. Centuries later, Galen of Pergamos, taking as reference this Hippocratic classification, categorized people according to their temperaments. With them, he distinguished four types of people: Choleric (yellow bile): passionate and energetic people, who irritate easily. Melancholic (black bile): sad, easy to move individuals with great artistic sensitivity. Phlegmatic (phlegm): cold and rational subjects. Blood (blood): cheerful and optimistic people, who express affection for others and show themselves safe.
Character: the reflection of our experiences
It is the component of the personality that encompasses the temperament (hereditary constitution) and the set of educational and relational habits learned by the person.
That is, it is both an innate and an acquired aspect. Character is the part of us that is determined by the environment. Moreover, it is a consequence of the experiences and social interactions that we have in our lives and from which we obtain some learning. So all these habits influence our temperament and our biological predispositions. And they change, change, refine and shape our personality. Therefore, the origin of character is cultural. It is less stable than temperament. Character, not being hereditary, does not manifest fully in the early stages of evolutionary development. It goes through different stages until it reaches its maximum expression in adolescence.
Therefore, it can be modified and is susceptible to change; for example through social education. Nowadays, this term is quite confused with that of the personality, so that they are often used without distinction.
Personality is the result of the sum of character (temperament and learned habits) and behavior. That is, it encompasses both aspects. It is perhaps this cohesion that allows to elucidate more clearly the differences between personality, temperament and character. Therefore we can not only consider it the result of genetic inheritance, but also a consequence of the environmental influences to which the person is subject. Personality is a distinctive individual and therefore is characteristic of the person. Moreover, according to numerous studies, it remains stable over time and in different situations. “Character is simply the ethically evaluated .In psychology, personality is the set of emotions, cognitions and behaviors that make up the pattern of a person’s behavior. It’s the way we feel, think, or behave. It is a set of processes that interact with each other and self-regulate, forming a dynamic system.
Currently, the two most widely used and accepted definitions in psychology are. “Personality is the sum total of the current or potential patterns of conduct of an organism determined by heredity and the environment.” Hans Eysenck (1947) – Full cast and crew. “Personality is the typical pattern of conduct (including emotions and thoughts) that characterizes the individual’s adaptation to life situations.” Michel (1976).However, there is no single or clear definition of what personality is, since it is a complex system and there are as many definitions as authors and currents. Each philosophy or theory provided its vision and concept, similar to each other but different in their nuances. They all have something in common: they consider that in the person there is a certain pattern that leads them to behave similarly in similar situations. In this pattern, a series of variables would come into play, which would shape the personality.
According to the current, these variables receive a name or other characteristic, subject, parts, traits . The essential thing is that the wealth of personality psychology lies in all these contributions, theories, studies and research, together with the integration of all of them. Personality, temperament and character are different concepts, and it is precisely in this difference that you find part of your wealth and value to understand and try to predict through them our behaviors.
Author is a regular columnist of Good Morning Kashmir. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org