Personality theory as a part of academic psychology came into existence in the late 1930s with the publications of textbooks by Gordon Allport and Ross Stagner.  Today, in conjunction with social psychology, personality is one of the most active areas of research in psychology.

Keirsey’s Personality Theory

This framework is based on a combination of the four temperaments and Jung’s original theory.  His theory only uses the four scales (I/E, N/S, T/F, J/P) and does not incorporate the cognitive processes to create each personality profile.  Keirsey’s theory is based on people’s core needs and long term observable behavior whereas Myers-Briggs primarily describes what people think and feel. Some critics of personality theory claim personality is “plastic” across time, places, moods, and situations.

Other Factors that may Influence Personality

Changes in personality may indeed result from diet (or lack thereof), medical effects, significant events, or learning.  However, most personality theories emphasize stability over fluctuation.

The Minute Personality Theory

This theory goes from a framework to a definition, that’s when there are huge problems. That simple misunderstanding can make someone who should be thinking “I have a personality that makes me prone to certain weaknesses” think, “I have a personality with weaknesses.

 Type A and Type B Personality Theory

During the 1950s,  Meyer Friedman  and his co-workers defined what they called Type A and Type B behavior patterns. They theorized that intense, hard-driving Type A personalities had a higher risk of coronary disease because they are “stress junkies.  ” Type B people, on the other hand, tended to be relaxed, less competitive, and lower in risk.  There was also a Type AB mixed profile.

Karen Horney – “Real Self” or “Ideal Self” ?

Another important figure in the world of personality theory would be  Karen Horney. She is credited with the development of the “real self” and the “ideal self”.  She believes that all people have these two views of their own self.  The “real self” is how you really are with regards to personality, values, and morals; but the “ideal self” is a construct you apply to yourself to conform to social and personal norms and goals.  Ideal self would be “I can be successful, I am CEO material”; and real self would be “I just work in the mail room, with not much chance of high promotion”.


Even with the diversity of perspectives discussed above, personality theory is too broad to be included in a single review.  A complete review of personality processes needs to include recent social psychology advances in self theory and social cognition, cross cultural sources of variation, biological theories of memory structure  and techniques of brain imaging.  Theoretical advances in the biological nature of schizophrenia  and the affective disorders  shed light on both normal and psychopathological functioning.

Mark Coburn

Mark has a genuine passion for inspiring people and organisations towards transforming their dreams and goals into reality. His specific areas of focus include leadership development, team building, smarter goal setting, work life balance and interpersonal communication skills for business professionals.

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