The Oxford English Dictionary offers eight definitions for “personality,” the first appearing in the early 15th century. The research literature offers many definitions, but nearly all of them emphasize two elements: consistency and continuity. Consistency concerns the regularity with which people think, feel, and act in the same situations. It does not imply that people respond to all situations the same way, but simply that a person typically responds in a similar way when the person is in a similar situation. An individual’s personality may be characterized, for example, by the fact that the individual is consistently outgoing when interacting with coworkers but consistently shy when interacting with strangers. Continuity concerns the enduring nature of these responses. Although personality grows and changes over time, these ...
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