All About Personality

Questions of personality have vexed mankind from the dawn of personhood: can people change? How do others perceive me? What is the difference between normal and pathological behavior? One's personality is so pervasive and all-important that it presents a clinical paradox of sorts: it is hard to assess our own personality, and impossible to overlook that of others.

Recent Posts on Personality

Explaining Americans' Reluctance to Accept Syrian Refugees

By Shawn M. Burn Ph.D. on November 25, 2015 Presence of Mind
The Syrian conflict has created the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII yet over fifty percent of Americans oppose Syrian resettlement in the United States. Terror management theory, the principle of moral exclusion, and the study of prosocial behavior help explain why.

Pressures on Your Therapist Not to Be Psychologically-Minded

A psychologically-minded therapist is to mainstream psychology like a person practicing a forbidden religion.

In Praise of Seriousness

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 How To Do Life
Upbeat is overrated.

Birth Order Determines...Almost Nothing

By Jeanne Safer Ph.D. on November 23, 2015 The Last Taboos
Everybody tends to think children have particular personality characteristics determined by their position in the family: firstborns are achievers, middle children are peacemakers, and the babies in the family are individualists. A new study shows how it isn't so.

Does Faking a Fake World Make It Real?

When "fake" means "real," what are kids to think? And the rest of us?

We Are Becoming Gods

By Mario D Garrett PhD on November 21, 2015 iAge
While we are behaving more like gods, we are learning that we are less human.

Lifting the Covers: Sex with the Undercover Police

Has reporting over-simplified the predicament of undercover agents and their relationships?

This Is Your Brain at 100%

By Kevin Bennett on November 21, 2015 Modern Minds
Is your brain operating at only 10% capacity? Here is why the answer is a lot like Bigfoot.

Why Some Math Anxiety Might Actually Be a Good Thing

We typically think of math anxiety as universally bad for math learning, but a team of scholars have now discovered that the relationship between math anxiety and learning is much more complex.

What Kind of Romantic Partners Make Narcissists Happy?

Narcissists attach more importance to the physical attractiveness and status of potential mates than to whether or not their mate is a warm and caring person. But are narcissists really happier when they find that trophy partner? New research suggests that the answer is yes.

Appetite for Risk: What Is Your Approach to Risk?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on November 20, 2015 A Sideways View
People are quite different in their appetite for risk. Are "risky types" risky in all their behaviors: in the workplace, in their personal relationships, in the way they drive, in what they eat and drink?

What's The Difference Between Rationality And Rationalizing?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 Ambigamy
We toss around rational and rationalize as though we know the obvious objective difference between them when actually, it's a little more complicated than that.

Who is "A Mensch"?

You've surely heard or read the word "Mensch," which is a Yiddish-derived term reserved for a special human being, who is recognized by others to represent decency, honest and kindness, among other admirable qualities.

Terrorism as a Vehicle for the Criminal Personality

The criminality of the individual is primary.

What Are You So Afraid Of?

By Sophia Dembling on November 17, 2015 The Introvert's Corner
Professional coach Beth Buelow says we can't ignore fear, but we can get to know it better to push past it.

4 Signs That Someone Is Insecure

Some people seem possessed by their desire to look better than everyone else. Being in the presence of these people doesn’t have to demoralize you, once you learn the 4 tell-tale clues to their insecurities.

The Story of a Fierce 8-Asserter Facing Death

By Elizabeth Wagele on November 17, 2015 The Career Within You
As an Asserter, Lester had difficulty giving up his power and sense of control. He insisted that I see him as a powerful man.

Does Your Birth Order Actually Matter?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 Singletons
Personal experience often trumps scientific facts: We expect the oldest to be responsible, the middle child to rebel. New proof shows that birth order isn’t as influential as we think in determining adult personality or intelligence. Are you confusing birth order expectations with age difference?

Can You Teach Someone to Be Funny?

By Jen Kim on November 16, 2015 Valley Girl With a Brain
A humor expert explains how almost anyone can make a good joke.

Do You Feel Misunderstood?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 How To Do Life
Ways to address misconceptions about you.

Will This Turkey Inspire You to Trust People?

By Kevin Bennett on November 13, 2015 Modern Minds
Here's what might happen after your Thanksgiving meal this year.

Therapists Confirm Trump's Narcissistic Personality Disorder

By Randi Kreger on November 13, 2015 Stop Walking on Eggshells
People with narcissistic personality disorder think that they are deeply important and special. They constantly need admiration and flattery to feel good about themselves. They sometimes also struggle to look at others as anything more than just extensions of themselves, which often times can lead to control issues and abuse. Do we want a president with this disorder?

10 Things Passive People Say

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on November 12, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
When passivity becomes our default way of responding and interacting and determines our general approach to life, it hurts us in ways we might not realize: Here's what to look for:

7 Things Only Narcissists Do

Recognizing the signs of narcissism is the first step in effectively dealing with a narcissist.

The Personality Profile of the Selfie-Addict

Psychologists from Germany and Poland reveal the personality traits of men and women who can't help posting selfies online.

Why Unwanted Thoughts Keep Invading Your Dreams

By Michelle Carr on November 11, 2015 Dream Factory
Think you can avoid thinking about that pesky relationship problem? In your dreams!

Are You an Achievement-Addicted Person?

There is nothing wrong with the desire to achieve, but if it interferes with other aspects of our lives, we may be "achievement-addicted" and need some balance. So what is achievement-addiction?

How Can Smart People Sometimes Be So Stupid?

If ignorance is bliss, we must be living on Planet Euphoria.

Ideology Matters (Too Much)

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 Without Prejudice
Historically, theorists argued that political ideology is not meaningful in our day-to-day lives. But the psychological record now demonstrates that ideology matters a great deal to our personal and social lives. In fact, some might argue that it now matters too much, influencing our basic perception and decision-making.

How I Learned About the Family Dynamics I Write About

In the comments by readers responding to my blogposts about dysfunctional family dynamics, I am often accused of naively believing my patient's "distorted" descriptions of their interactions with their family-of-origin members. In fact, I have observed these processes directly in a variety of ways. I describe those ways herein.