How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Explanations > Personality
One of the enduring questions in our attempts to understand people is how we can simplify our understanding of people and also how we can categorise them, putting them into neat boxes so we can predict what they will (or at least believe that we can) and hence know how to interact with them.
Things can go wrong when the factors that drive a person's character stray off the 'normal' path in a way that makes relationships difficult. Personality Disorders include:
Here are some further aspects that can be considered significant when assessing a person's personality and character.
Personality factors and classifications are traditionally identified either by the person completing a questionnaire, which is of course open to manipulation, or by an expert doing an assessment of them.
To be allowed to use personality instruments, a person first has to be qualified in administering and interpreting tests and then certified again in each instrument they use. This is both time-consuming and expensive, which is one reason it is expensive to have a professional assess personalities.
A useful informal way of identifying something of a personality is by first studying a model, such as the Big Five, and then looking for identifying characteristics in their conversation, action and stories.
Assessing personality of people is very useful as it helps understand them, their traits, biases and their preferences, and hence how they may be convinced (play to their preferences and traits).
The only trap of playing the personality card is if you assume that people are nothing but their assessed personality. Their preferences do change with circumstance and as people we are particularly complex animals, so you should also be flexible to handle the other person when they climb out of the box into which you have put them.
The bottom line is to always remember that this psychology stuff is just a numbers game. Understanding personality helps, but does not allow 100% predictions.