How Is "personality" Best Defined in an Individual?

Personality is best defined as an individual's typical patterns of behavior when confronted with certain situations. Personality is definable according to personality traits, characteristics that remain relatively stable over time. When studying personality, psychologists analyze the individual's openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

A person's personality is largely made up of a series of personality traits. For example, an individual considered to have a friendly personality is generally outgoing, courteous, confident and thoughtful in situations of interpersonal interaction. A shy personality, on the other hand, exhibits nervousness, quietness and social withdrawal.

According to psychometric researchers at the University of California San Francisco, there are five primary dimensions to a personality. Openness to new experiences relates to how individual behaves in previously unencountered circumstances, whether confidently or with trepidation.

Conscientiousness has to do with whether an individual is extremely critical of himself. Conscientious persons devote a lot of time and attention to the way other people perceive them.

Extroversion is a measure of a person's openness to social interaction. Factors include the individual's level of comfort around others, willingness to partake in social activities, and confidence in sharing thoughts and feelings.

Agreeableness and neuroticism have to do with how a person responds to stressors. An agreeable person remains calm and amicable, while a neurotic person exhibits anxiety, moodiness, anger and frustration.