What Is Personality?

Personality refers to the long-standing traits and patterns that propel individuals to consistently think, feel, and behave in specific ways. Our personality is what makes us unique individuals. Each person has an idiosyncratic pattern of enduring, long-term characteristics and a manner in which he or she interacts with other individuals and the world around them. Our personalities are thought to be long term, stable, and not easily changed. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona. In the ancient world, a persona was a mask worn by an actor. While we tend to think of a mask as being worn to conceal one’s identity, the theatrical mask was originally used to either represent or project a specific personality trait of a character (Figure).

Three masks are arranged side by side. The masks are almost identical, but with slightly different facial expressions resulting from the masks being at different angles. The first mask is tilted downward and has downcast eyes. The second mask is shown straight on and is directing its gaze slightly higher than the first. The third mask is tilted upwards so its gaze is directed more upward.
Happy, sad, impatient, shy, fearful, curious, helpful. What characteristics describe your personality?
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