From eccentric and introverted to boisterous and bold, the human personality is a curious, multifaceted thing. Each person has a unique mix of characteristics, and individuals value different traits in themselves and others.
Questions of personality have challenged humans from the dawn of personhood: Can people ever change? Can an angry person ease his or her rage, or a meek person finally speak up? What is the difference between normal and pathological behavior? Do people perceive others the same way that those individuals perceive themselves? Psychological research has made some progress on these questions—a branch of the field, known as personality psychology, is dedicated to them—but experts still don’t understand many facets of personality.
Because personality is so pervasive and all-important, it presents a clinical paradox of sorts: It is hard to accurately assess one's own personality, yet impossible to overlook that of others. But since personality can make or break one's relationships at home and at work—and because each person aspires to be grounded in who they truly are—researchers will continue to dig deeper into why people are the way they are and how personality influences each individual's behavior.