The notion of personality: historical and recent perspectives
Caprara, Gian Vittorio
To the scientist, personality is the complexity of psychological structures and processes that contribute to the unity and continuity of individual conduct and experience. Personality psychologists explore the mechanisms that mediate person environment transactions and the ways in which these psychological mechanisms give rise to the uniqueness of each person. This paper reviews the history of the discipline of personality psychology and the current status of the field. It urges investigators to attend to the proactive, self-regulatory features of personality. People are self-organizing, proactive beings, not just reactive organisms. Self-reflective and self-regulatory capabilities enable people to shape the nature of their experiences and life paths. This potentialist view of personality enables one to identify and promote the social conditions required for the full realization of human capacities.
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