Personality is the word which is being excessively used by the people in today’s world. Everybody talks about the personality of people without knowing the real meaning and definition of personality. Actually, the word personality is derived from the Latin word “Persona” which means the mask. In ancient times, the people of Greece used to wear masks to represent themselves in the theaters. In the absence of advanced electronic media, the mask-worn actors became famous and the “Persona” became the symbol of the character of actors.
The concept of personality can be understood with the help of a simple example. For example if someone says that Pierce Brosnan (James Bond) has a lot of personality. It means that Pierce Brosnan is a good looking, interesting, jubilant and an attractive person. It does not mean that Pierce Brosnan has more personality than others because personality cannot be more or less in quantity but can be good or bad in quality. Generally, a person with good dressing, lovely hair style, expensive watch, polished shoes is considered to have good personality. But in sociological perspective, personality is not what one wears; rather it is the totality of behavior of a man in different circumstances. It changes from person to person, time to time and place to place. For example, a policeman behaves harshly towards the criminals but kindly with his children. Similarly he behaves politely in front of his officers while frankly with his wife. This indicates that a man represents himself differently in different situations.
Factors in the Development of Personality
There are various factors of personality development. Some of those are given and discussed below.
• Biological Inheritance
A man born with some hidden qualities which are known as the characteristics inherited from parents. For example there will be slight difference between the IQ level of a parent and his offspring. The intensity of anger, patience, love and hatred etc of a child will be similar to the intensity of anger, patience, love and hatred of parents. So the child’s behavior can be judged by the behavior of parents which later on becomes a factor in the development of personality.
• Physical Environment
Physical environment refers to the geography, climate, topography, resources etc. The human behavior can be affected by the physical environment of a particular area in which the individual inhibits. Hundreds of writers claimed that the difference between groups is mainly due to the difference of climate from one area to another. Whereas some of the social scientists think that physical environment leaves a little impact on the development of a personality. More or less, the behavior of person belonging to the hilly area can be different than the person belonging to the plain area. The behavior of people living in the cold areas like Russia may be different from the behavior of people living in the warm areas like Saudi Arabia. So for the healthy personality, a healthy physical environment can be beneficial.
Culture is the totality of life and plays a vital role in the development of a personality. A man is an animal and the culture is what which turns an animal into a social animal. In the same way, it affects the personality of an individual. The languages, experiments, punishments, rewards, norms, rules and regulations of a society can be learnt through the culture. Every society has its own cultural characteristics. For example the regular mosque goers in Islamic society are considered as good people. On the other hand those people who attend the bars and use to toast are considered as the charming personalities in European societies.
• Group Experience
Group experience is also an important factor responsible for the development of a personality. An individual tends to behave according to the behavior of a group. If an individual lives in the group of criminals, he chooses to do what criminals do. For example, if the emigrants from India move towards china and adopt the Chinese culture then such type of cultural exchange would be considered as group experience. It is difficult for one person to act as an alien in the society where all the people are practicing their own culture. Hence, it is proved that an individual is bound to accept the likes and dislikes of others. So, one can say that group experience develops the personality of an individual.
• Unique Experience
Unique experience is one of the most effective factors in the development of a personality. Despite living in a homogenous characteristic based society, everybody has his/her unique choice. It has been seen that the personalities of two brothers are different from each other because of the unique experiences. A question arises here that why the personalities of the two brothers are different while living in a same physical environment, having homogeneous biological characteristics and sharing the same culture. The answer is simple that the personalities of the two brothers are different only because of their unique experiences. Their personalities are different from each other because they have different friends, teachers, books, and tastes.
• Social Conditions
The social conditions of a society are also important ingredients in the development of a personality. Socially sound society can create useful members and good personalities for the society. No one can expect a good personality from a person who is living in a society with lots of social problems. Poverty, illiteracy, inflation, over population, unemployment and terrorism are some of the important social problems which create hurdles in the process of personality development. For example the personalities of Dutch people are far better than the personalities of Tamil Tigers. This is all because of social conditions of a particular society.
Personality is the totality of behavior of a man which makes him/her different from other members of the society. The development of personality starts from childhood till to the death. The family, friends, schools, religions, media, climate, cultures, experiences and socialization are the factors responsible for the development of a personality. The personalities of people vary from time to time, place to place and from situation to situation. It is difficult for one to develop his/her personality without developing the socio-economic conditions of the society in which he/she lives.