When it comes to defining ourselves and others, we often use terms like “personality” and “attitude” interchangeably. But, in reality, they are two distinct concepts with distinct characteristics.
It’s important to understand the difference between personality and attitude, as they are not the same thing.
Personality refers to a person’s stable and enduring traits, while attitudes are a person’s evaluations or feelings towards a particular thing.
Understanding this distinction of Personality Vs Attitude is helpful for personal growth and for better communication with others.
Table of Contents
- Uncovering the Key Differences Between Personality and Attitude: A Guide to Understanding Yourself and Others
- Understanding More About Personality Type – What Are the Big Five Personality Traits?
- Meyer’s-Briggs Type Indicator Personality Test
- How is A Person’s Attitude Different From Their Personality?
- 8 Different Attitudes Human Beings Can Display
- But Do Personality and Attitude Affect Each Other?
- Want to read more about this topic?
Uncovering the Key Differences Between Personality and Attitude: A Guide to Understanding Yourself and Others
In different situations, an individual’s personality traits can influence their attitudes and behavior. For example, someone who scores low on agreeableness might have a tendency to be more critical or argumentative in social situations. On the other hand, someone who scores high in extraversion might be more sociable and outgoing in the same situation.
Trait theorists in the field of social psychology argue that personality is made up of a set of traits that are consistent across different situations. These traits are the building blocks of a person’s personality and can be measured through factor analysis.
Personality refers to the stable, enduring traits and characteristics that define an individual’s behavior and temperament. It encompasses qualities such as introversion or extroversion, openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Personality traits are largely inherited and developed in early childhood, and they remain relatively constant throughout our lives.
Attitudes, on the other hand, are learned and shaped by our experiences, and can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as social norms and personal beliefs. Attitudes can also change over time as a person’s experiences and perspectives evolve.
Understanding More About Personality Type – What Are the Big Five Personality Traits?
The Five-Factor Model of Personality (FFM), also known as the “Big Five” personality traits, is a widely recognized and extensively researched framework for understanding personality. It was first developed in the 1970s and 1980s by a number of psychologists and researchers, including John Johnson, Paul Costa and Robert McCrae.
The FFM proposes that there are five broad traits, dimensions or factors that capture most of the variation in human personality:
The openness trait encompasses a range of personality characteristics, including imagination, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and a willingness to consider new ideas and experiences.
Conscientiousness refers to qualities such as being responsible, dependable, and organized. People who score high in conscientiousness are often self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and reliable.
Extraversion is characterized by a person’s level of social engagement and their energy and assertiveness in social situations. People who score high in extraversion are often talkative, energetic, and enjoy being around others.
The agreeableness trait encompasses a range of personality characteristics, including trust, cooperation, empathy, and a concern for others. People who score high in agreeableness are often friendly, compassionate, and good-natured.
Neuroticism refers to a person’s tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger, and depression.
This trait is characterized by emotional instability, anxiety, and moodiness.
People who score high in neuroticism are often sensitive to stress, easily upset, and prone to worry.
To remember these five character traits, you can use the acronym OCEAN.
Each of these five factors can be further divided into more specific traits or facets. For example, the openness factor includes traits such as imagination, curiosity, and intellectuality.
The FFM has been widely researched and is considered to be a robust and comprehensive model of personality. It has been found to be consistent across different cultures, languages, and countries, making it a useful tool for cross-cultural research and comparison.
Trait psychology rests on the assumption that personality can be described using a set of basic trait dimensions. This is the most widely used system of traits in personality psychology and is recognized by the American Psychological Association as a valid tool for assessing personality.
It is important to note that while gender differences do exist in the distribution of extraversion scores, and within the other personality traits, it is important to avoid making blanket statements and generalizations about individuals based on their gender. Personality is a complex and multi-dimensional construct that cannot be reduced to a single specific trait or set of traits.
Meyer’s-Briggs Type Indicator Personality Test
Another widely recognized model of personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a self-assessment questionnaire that aims to categorize individuals into one of 16 different personality types based on their preferences for certain traits.
The MBTI was developed by Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, and is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological type.
It defines four dichotomies or preferences that determine an individual’s personality type:
- Extraversion vs. Introversion: preference for directing energy towards the external world or the internal world.
- Sensing vs. Intuition: preference for perceiving information through the senses or through intuition.
- Thinking vs. Feeling: preference for making decisions based on objective analysis or personal values.
- Judging vs. Perceiving: preference for a structured or flexible approach to life.
The MBTI categorizes individuals into one of 16 different personality types based on their preferences for these dichotomies. For example, someone who is an “ESTJ” is classified as an extraverted, sensing, thinking, and judging individual.
The MBTI has been widely used in various settings, including education, career counseling, and organizational development. However, it has also been criticized by some for its lack of empirical evidence and scientific rigor, as well as for being too limited in its categorization of personality.
How is A Person’s Attitude Different From Their Personality?
Attitude, on the other hand, is a person’s evaluation of a particular object, person, or situation. Attitudes can change quickly in response to new information, social influence, or life experiences. An attitude can be positive, negative, or neutral, and it influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards a specific thing.
So, what is the difference between personality and attitude? Simply put, personality is who we are, while attitude is how we see things. Our personality affects how we interact with others and the world around us, while our attitudes can change based on the circumstances and our experiences.
For example, a person with a warm, outgoing personality may still have a negative attitude towards a particular person or situation. On the other hand, a person with a reserved personality may have a positive attitude towards someone they admire or respect.
8 Different Attitudes Human Beings Can Display
Attitudes are a combination of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors directed towards a particular object, person, or situation. Attitudes can have a significant impact on a person’s behavior, as they shape how individuals interpret and respond to the world around them. Here is a list of different attitudes people can have and how they can affect a person’s behavior:
- Positive Attitudes: A positive attitude is characterized by feelings of hope, optimism, and enthusiasm. Individuals with positive attitudes tend to be more open-minded, proactive, and motivated, and are more likely to approach challenges with a positive outlook.
- Negative Attitudes: A negative attitude is characterized by feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment. Individuals with negative attitudes tend to be more critical, pessimistic, and less motivated, and are more likely to avoid or withdraw from challenges.
- Confident Attitudes: Confidence is characterized by a belief in one’s own abilities and a willingness to take risks. Individuals with confident attitudes tend to be more assertive, optimistic, and proactive, and are more likely to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
- Insecure Attitudes: Insecurity is characterized by a lack of confidence in one’s own abilities and a fear of failure. Individuals with insecure attitudes tend to be more passive, avoidant, and uncertain, and are less likely to take on new challenges and responsibilities. This is linked with low self esteem.
- Curious Attitudes: Curiosity is characterized by a desire to learn and explore new ideas and experiences. Individuals with curious attitudes tend to be more open-minded, proactive, and motivated, and are more likely to approach challenges with a desire to learn and grow.
- Indifferent Attitudes: Indifference is characterized by a lack of interest or concern about a particular object, person, or situation. Individuals with indifferent attitudes tend to be more passive, avoidant, and uninterested, and are less likely to engage with or respond to challenges.
- Aroused Attitudes: Arousal is characterized by feelings of excitement, energy, and motivation. Individuals with aroused attitudes tend to be more energetic, proactive, and motivated, and are more likely to approach challenges with enthusiasm and energy.
- Apathetic Attitudes: Apathy is characterized by a lack of motivation and energy. Individuals with apathetic attitudes tend to be more passive, avoidant, and uninterested, and are less likely to engage with or respond to challenges.
But Do Personality and Attitude Affect Each Other?
There is a significant relationship between a person’s personality and their attitudes. People’s characteristic patterns of behavior and thinking are shaped by their core values, and core personality traits, which are influenced by past experiences and cultural norms.
For example, someone who scores high in neuroticism, or the tendency to experience negative emotional states, might be more likely to have negative attitudes towards particular things or actions.
The relationship between personality and attitude is complex and multifaceted. While personality can influence attitudes, attitudes can also impact personality over time. Here are a few ways in which personality and attitude can affect each other:
- Attitude can influence personality development: Over time, attitudes and beliefs can shape a person’s personality, particularly if they are deeply held and strongly reinforced. For example, a person who has a positive attitude towards their job is more likely to have higher job satisfaction and be more engaged in their work, which can lead to a more confident and secure personality.
- Personality can shape attitudes: A person’s personality can also play a role in shaping their attitudes and beliefs. For example, individuals who score high in extraversion are more likely to have positive attitudes towards social situations, while those who score high in neuroticism might have more negative attitudes towards stress and uncertainty.
- Attitudes can change in different situations: People’s attitudes can change in different situations and over time, reflecting the influence of the context and their life experiences. For example, a person might have a positive attitude towards their job when they are engaged in meaningful work, but a negative attitude towards the same job if they are faced with stress or a lack of autonomy.
Want to read more about this topic?
Check out the work of personality psychologists including
- Gordon Allport
- Walter Mischel (of the famous Marshmallow test)
In conclusion, it is important to understand the difference between personality and attitude in order to better understand individual differences. Personality is a person’s stable set of characteristics, while attitudes are a person’s evaluations or feelings towards a particular thing.
Gaining a deeper insight into this topic can help individuals better understand their own personality development and the characteristic ways they respond in different social situations. Additionally, understanding these factors can have an impact on areas such as job satisfaction and the type of person someone is perceived to be. Different people will have different personalities and attitudes, and it’s important to respect and appreciate these individual differences in ourselves and others.
By recognizing the differences between personality and attitude, we can work on developing a positive outlook on life and improving our relationships with others.