The term personality is too variable in usage to be serviceable in scientific discussion unless its meaning is very carefully defined for a given context. Among the various understandings which attach to the term there are five definitions which stand out as usefully distinct from one another, corresponding to the philosophical, the physiological, the psychophysical, the sociological and the psychiatric approaches to personality. As a philosophical concept, personality may be defined as the subjective awareness of the self as distinct from other objects of observation. As a purely physiological concept, personality may be considered as the individual human organism with emphasis on those aspects of behavior which differentiate it from other human organisms. The term may be used in a descriptive psychophysical sense as referring to the human being conceived as a given totality, at any one time, of physiological and psychological reaction systems, no vain attempt being made to draw a line between the physiological and the psychological. The most useful sociological connotation which can be given to the term is an essentially symbolic one; namely, the totality of those aspects o f behavior which give meaning to an individual in society and differentiate him from other members in the community, each of whom embodies countless cultural patterns in a unique configuration. The psychiatric definition of personality may be regarded as equivalent to the: individual abstracted from the actual psychophysical whole and conceived as a comparatively stable system of reactivity. The philosophical concept treats personality as an invari-
(86) -ant point of experience; the physiological and psychophysical, as an indefinitely variable reactive system, the relation between the sequence of states being one of continuity, not identity; the sociological, as a gradually cumulative entity; and the psychiatric, as an essentially invariant reactive system.
The first four meanings add nothing new to such terms as self or ego, organism, individual and social role. It is the peculiarly psychiatric conception of personality as a reactive system which is in some sense stable or typologically defined for a long period of time, perhaps for life, which it is most difficult to assimilate but important to stress. The psychiatrist does not deny that the child who rebels against his father is in many significant ways different from the same individual as a middle aged adult who has a penchant for subversive theories, but he is interested primarily in noting that the same reactive ground plan, physical and psychic, can be isolated from the behavior totalities of child and adult. He establishes his invariance of personality by a complex system of concepts of behavior equivalences, such as sublimation, affective transfer, rationalization, libido and ego relations. The stage in the history of the human organism at which it is most convenient to consider the personality as an achieved system, from which all subsequent cross sections of individual psychophysical history may be measured as minor or even irrelevant variations, is still undetermined. There is no way of telling how far back in the life of the individual the concept of an essentially invariant reactive system may usefully be pushed without too disturbing a clash with the manifest and apparently unlimited variability of individual behavior. If this conception of personality is to hold its own, it must in some way contradict effectively the notion of that cumulative growth of personality to which our practical intelligence must chiefly be directed. The psychiatrist's concept of personality is to all intents and purposes the reactive system exhibited by the precultural child, a total configuration of reactive tendencies determined by heredity, and by prenatal and postnatal conditioning up to the point where cultural patterns are constantly modifying the child's behavior. The personality may be conceived of as a latent system of reaction patterns and tendencies to reaction patterns finished shortly after birth or well into the second or third year of the life of the individual. With all the uncertainty that now prevails with regard to the relative permanence or modifiability of life patterns, the individual and in the race it is unwise, how ever, to force the notion of the fixation of personality in tune.
The genesis of personality is in all probability, determined largely by the anatomical and physiological make up of the individual but cannot entirely so explained. Conditioning factors, which may roughly be lumped together as the social psychological determinants of childhood` must be considered as at least as important in the development of personality as innate biological factors. It is entirely vain in the present state of knowledge to argue as to the relative importance of these two sets of factors. No satisfactory technique has been developed for keeping them apart and it is perhaps safe to take for granted that there is no facet of personality, however minute, which is not from the genetic standpoint the result of the prolonged and subtle interplay of both.
It is unthinkable that the build and other physical characteristics of an individual should' bear no relation to his personality. It is important to observe, however, that physical features may be of genetic significance is two distinct respects. They may be organically correlated with certain psychological features or tendencies or they may serve as consciously or unconsciously evaluated symbols of an individual's relation to others, belonging properly to the sphere of social determination. An example of the former class of physical determinants would be the association, according to Kretschmer, of the stocky, so-called pyknic, build, with the cyclothymic type of personality, which in its psychotic form shows as manic depressive insanity; the so-called asthenic and athletic builds being associated with the schizothymic type of personality, which, under the pressure of shock an conflict, may disintegrate into schizophrenia. example of the latter type of determination stressed by Alfred Adler and his school of individual psychology, would be the feeling of s inferiority produced in a person who is of abnormally short stature, and the ceaseless effort to overcome this feeling of inferiority by developing such compensatory mechanisms as intelligent aggression or shrewdness, which would tend to give the individual a secondary ego saris-faction denied him by his sense of physical inferiority. It is highly probable that both these genetic theories of personality have a substantial core of value although too much has doubtless been claimed for them.
The most elaborate and far reaching hypotheses on the development of personality which have yet been proposed are those of Freud and his school. The Freudian psychoanalysts analyze the personality topographically into a primary id, the sum of inherited impulses or cravings; the ego, which is thought of as being built upon the id through the progressive development of the sense of external reality; and the superego, the socially conditioned sum of forces which restrain the individual from the direct satisfaction of the id. The characteristic interplay of these personality zones, itself determined chiefly by the special pattern of family relationships into which the individual has had to fit himself in the earliest years of his life, is responsible for a variety of personality types. Freudians have not developed a systematic theory of personality types but have, contented themselves with special hypotheses based on clinical evidence. There is no doubt that a large amount of valuable material and a number of powerfully suggestive mechanisms of personality formation have been advanced by the Freudian school. Even now it is abundantly clear that an unusual attachment to the mother or profound jealousy of the older or younger brother may give the personality a slant which remains relatively fixed throughout life.
Various classifications of personality types have been advanced, some of them based on innate factors, others on experiential ones. Among the typological pictures the one worthy of special note is perhaps that of Jung. To him may be attributed the popular contrast between introverts and extraverts, the former abstracting more readily from reality and finding their sense of values and personal identification within themselves, while the latter evaluate experience in terms of what is immediately given by the environment. This contrast, it is true, means something substantial, but it is unfortunate that a host of superficial psychologists have attempted to fix Jung's meaning with the aid of shallow criteria of all sorts. Jung further divides personality into four main functional types-thinking, feeling, sensational and intuitive-the two former being called rational, the two latter irrational. For these somewhat misleading terms, organized and unorganized may fitly be substituted. The classification according to functional types is believed by Jung to intercross with the introvert extravert dichotomy. The validity and exact delimitation of these terms present many difficult problems of analysis.
There is much that is suggestive in hiss classification of personality and it may be possible to integrate it with the dynamic theories of Freud and Adler. What is needed at the present time, however, is the ever more minute analysis and comparison of individual personality pictures.
There is an important relation between culture and personality. On the one hand, there can be little doubt that distinctive personality types may have a profound influence on the thought and action of the community as a whole. Furthermore, while cultural anthropologists and. sociologists do not consider that the forms of social interaction are in themselves definitive of personality types, particular forms of behavior in society, however flexibly the individual may adapt himself to them, are preferentially adapted to specific personality types. Aggressive military patterns, for instance, cannot be equally congenial to all personalities; literary or scientific refinement can be developed only by individuals of highly differentiated personalities. The failure of social science as a whole to relate the patterns of culture to germinal personality patterns is intelligible in view of the complexity of social phenomena and the recency of serious speculation on the relation of the individual to society. But there is growing recognition of the fact that the intimate study of personality is of fundamental concern to the social scientist.
The socialization of personality traits may be expected to lead cumulatively to the development of specific psychological biases in the cultures of the world. Thus Eskimo culture, contrasted with most North American Indian cultures, is extraverted; Hindu culture on the whole corresponds to the world of the thinking introvert; the culture of the United States is definitely extraverted in character, with a greater emphasis on thinking and intuition than on feeling; and sensational evaluations are more clearly evident in the cultures of the Mediterranean area than in those of northern Europe. Social scientists have been hostile to such psychological characterizations of culture but in the long run they are inevitable and necessary.