When we are asked to describe about someone. It is probably that we would come up with some featured of that person like he/she is tall, social, well dressed and self-controlled etc. It means we are describing about someone’s trait. In narrow meaning we access someone by his traits but only traits are just one factor as personality pervades every aspect of human life. Thus, personality is sum total of physical, social, moral, intellectual, emotional and character make up of the individual which is expressed in terms of attitudes, aspirations habits and temperaments.

Meaning and Definitions of Personality

The word ‘personality’ is derived from Latin Word ‘’persona” which means a Dress or a mask. Persona was a dress used to wear by Greeks to participate in a Drama. But it a narrow meaning as it explains only external features and has nothing to do with inner traits.

  1. All port:– ‘’ Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determines his unique adjustment to the environment.
  2. William: – “Personality is an integrated system of habitual adjustment to environment particularly to social environment.”
  • Kurt Lewin:– ‘’Personality is a dynamic totality of systems.’’
  1. Guilford:– “An individual’s personality is his unique pattern of traits.’’

In nut shell we can say that personality considers cognitive behavior, affective behavior and cognitive behavior. Personality is a sum total of all traits viz social, emotional, physical and intellectual.

Factors Affecting Personality Development

Now a days building up off harmonious personality is the main effort of educationist. Educationist and Psychologist together are working on some determinants pf personality development which are as follows.

  1. Biological Factors: –

There are some biological factors that affect the personality of an individual. For example, short heighted and over weighted students are generally teased by their classmates. It will develop inferiority complex. If an individual is tall, has good physique, good health and strength then he will participate in social activities as that individual is expected by society or vice-versa.


  1. Gender Differences: –

The gender difference plays a vital role in personality development as boys are exposed to machinery and outdoor activities. They are generally more assertive and tough. On the other side generally, girls are not exposed to much in participating in vigorous or adventure activities. Girls are considered more sensitive.  


  • Nervous System: –

An individual’s personality development depends on nervous system. As nervous system is responsible for motor mobility, intellectual mobility and physical strength. Any injury to nervous system can adversely affect the development of one’s personality.


  1. Endocrine Glands: –

The Adrenal Gland, The Thyroid Gland, The Parathyroid Gland, Pituitary Gland and the Gonad Gland play an important role in an individual’s personality. Malfunction of such glands may be had extreme adverse effect on personality. The hormones released by above gland play vital role in growth and development.

  • As excess production of cortisol can result masculine features in case of women.
  • Growth of beard and moustache.
  • Overactive of thyroid gland will result in aggressiveness and hyperactivity.
  1. Family Environment: –

a child acquires attitudes, values, beliefs and habits while living in a family. Family pattern influence the personality development in significant way. If the family climate is favorable the individual will treat their family members and outsider in hostile manner. But if an individual faces problem like separation of their parents can result in adverse way. It can be result in juvelline delinquent child.


  1. School: –

At school teacher’s attitudes ideas, principles, emotional maturity, his mastery ever subject influence student’s personality. If a school is child centered activities, then the students will be all-rounder. NSS, Scouts and Guides sports will play important role in personality development.


  • Cultural Environment: –

An individual’s personality is shaped by the culture in which he is born. The folkways customs, traditions stereotypes, worship pattern influence one’s personality. If the society norms are right then there are more chances that the individual will be aggressive.


  • Social Environment: –

If a person resides in a posh society. He studies in the school which is high infrastructure, well versed and well qualified teachers then the students will be confident. They will try to become a well civilized individual. But if an individual resides in slums and he has no access to education then there are more chances that these situations can lead him too delinquently. Thus children of upper class feel superiority feeling.


  1. Psychological Factors: –

The motives, drivers, interests, attitudes, emotions, will power, memory, level of aspiration are also determinant of one’s personality. If sn individual can carry on abstract thinking, he has ability to perceive concepts, he can conclude good results through observations then it means possess high intellectual capacity so he feels high personality and vice-versa.


  1. Miscellaneous Factors:– There are some factors which play vital role in personality development.
  • If parents are over ambitious then they want their children achieve something beyond their capacity.
  • It will result in loss of self-respect feeling of guilt and shame. If parents are over protecting then the children will be led to withdrawal behavior of their kids. They can become aggressive.

We can conclude that personality development is affected by hereditary, environment, cultural values, social values and home environment. Not a single factor affects it but personality is result of multiple factors.


Contribution of max Wertheimer and kurt koffka

The three psychologists work together towards personality development namely wolf gang Kohler, max Wertheimer and kurt koffka. These are known as gestalt psychologist. ‘Gestalt ‘is a German word which means configuration or ‘organized whole’


Max Wertheimer – A brief introduction

Max Wertheimer was born on April 15,1880 and he died on October 12,1943. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His father was an educator and his mother was a Ph.D. scholar. Earlier his field of interest was music but later he became fascinated with philosophy. He did his doctorate degree from the university of Wurzburg.

He observed hoe hashing lights at a train station created the illusion of movement. This event motivated him to study the concept of ‘perception’. He called this movement the ‘phi phenomenon’, which is based on some principles upon which the motion pictures are based. Then he immigrated to New York in 1993 and he had done his research in new school for social research. This school becomes one of the leading schools of psychology. According to his theory – “There are holes the behavior of which is not determined by that of their individual elements, but where the part- processes are determined by the intrinsic nature of the



Phi phenomenon by max Wertheimer 

This term is used in a narrow sense for an apparent motion that is observed if two nearby optical stimulate presented in alternation with a relatively high frequency. In contrast to beta movement, seen at lower frequencies, the stimuli themselves do not appear to move.



Kurt Koffka was a German psychologist. He was born on 1886 and died on 1941. He was born in berlin. His father was lawyer. He received the Ph.D. degree in 1909. His thesis entitled – “Experimental investigations of rhythm”

After world war in 1910. He was studying “Imageless Thought” it means kuffka raised questions

about the dominant elementalism. His 1 st book was published in 1912 titled “Regarding the analysis

of images and their laws”. He maintained that infants first perceive and respond holistically. Only later they perceive the individual sensations that comprise the world. Max Wertheimer, Kurt koffka and Wolfgang Kohler corked on ‘Laws of “pragnanz”.



Pragnanz is a German word which means “compact but significant “. This law suggests that our psychologist organization tends to move in one general direction which is pragnanz. But a good

gestalt has the property of stability simplicity and regularity.



  1. Law of similarity-Elements that look similar will be perceived as part of the same form. The

similarity in form of shape, color, size leads to meaningful organization of the field.


  1. Law of proximity-The things which are near to each other help in organization. The

perceptual groups are formed according to nearness

  1. Law of continuity-good continuation helps in meaningful organization.
  2. Law of closure-We tend to fill the gaps or close figures we perceive. we enclose a space by

completing a contour and ignoring gaps in the figure.

  1.  Law of figure ground– we tend to pay attention and perceive things in foreground first. A stimulus will be perceived as separate from its ground.

Educational Implications

  • The curriculum of the class should be on integrated whole. There should be co-relation between subjects.
  • The students should be seen as a whole his personality should not be judged by a single activity.
  • They emphasis on the importance of transfer of learning. Previous life experience are very useful for students.
  • Children should avoid spoon feeding and cramming but they should be motivated for imagination analytical ability and problem solving.
  • There is individual difference between students. Teacher should keep in mind the intelligence level of each student.
  • Teacher should present his lesson logically. He should follow maxims of teaching i.e.; he should proceed from ‘simple to complex’ from ‘known to unknown’ from concrete to abstract’ Teacher should bring an integration between practical and theory.

Assessment of Personality

As weight and height are quantitative so these variables are easy to measure. But as we know that personality is qualitative. We have to do personality assessment if we want to furnish proper guidance to the students. The personality assessment can be divided in three categories.


  1. Subjective Method
  2. Interview: – It is a face-to-face conversation between interviewer and interviewee. Here interviewer-built report and then he can acquire desire information about interviewee.

Merits: –

  • It is flexible. It is just like conversation.
  • It is useful for both literate and illiterate persons.
  • It is direct method.
  • Questions can be formal and informal.

Demerits: –

  • It is subjective method.
  • It is expensive method. Interviewee can hide information.
  1. Autobiography: – When a person narrates about himself then this kind of story is known as autobiography. Narrator writes about his aim, ambition, values, adventures, achievements and failures.

Merits: –

  • It is easy to access.
  • It is comprehensive.
  • It is economical and explore about him.

Demerits: –

  • It is subjective, mostly the narrator can easily hide his failure or grey shade.
  • He can give irrelevant information.
  1. Questionnaire: – Questionnaire is a list of questions. The questions are designed in such a way to collect information about the subject. Questions can be open ended. They may be yes or nor type.

Merits: –

  • It is easy to use.
  • It can collect information without subjects’ hesitation.
  • It is economical method.

Demerits: –

  • It does not reveal full information.
  • The subject can provide wrong information intentionally.
  1. Objective Method

Objective methods of assessment of personality development are scientific method. As it depends on objective data.


  1. Observation: – Here the subject is asked to perform some activity and he is observed by a psychologist. In this method subject’s trait are evaluated by psychologist. It is very emotional but it is time consuming method.
  1. Sociometric method: – This method is used with in a group, a class or club where all the members know each other. This method helps in judging social traits of personality. Here the social acceptance is measured. For example, here class is asked to select a monitor as a class representative to represent them. Here members tell their choice about first, second or third. This is also called Mutual Selection Preference.
  1. Anecdotal Record: – It is a descriptive document which is maintained by class teacher from the very first day of students’ admission in the class. Here each activity i.e., scholar and co-curricular activity is recorded. Teacher writes positive and negative aspect of student.
  1. Projective Method:– In the projective method an individual reveals about his wishes, thoughts, ambitions, fears and unfulfilled wishes, this method is based on the assumption that the ambitious test subject will reveal about his unconscious. The subject will project his inner feeling needs, desires and conflicts.
  2. Rorschach Ink Blot Test: –the best-known projective test is Rorschach test. It was devised by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in 1924. This test consists ten standardized ink blots cards. Here five cards are multicolored and five cards are black and white. These cards are shown to subjects and they are allowed to have as much time as they want.

Scoring Analysis and Interpretation of Rorschach Test

Now the participants are asked whether

  1. Whole or part is seen.
  2. What was color texture, shade or form of picture.
  3. Animals or humans are seen


If the participant sees the picture as a whole it means he is intelligent and ha has ability to synthesis. Those who see it in parts means they are compulsive by nature.


If the participant explains about poor color, then they have lack of emotional ability. Those who see dark color are considered emotionally stable persons.


Texture and shading responses are interpreted as anxiety and feeling of depression. Dark texture and vibrant shading are considered as the participant is optimist.

Movement of Pictures

Those people who observe strong movement is responses are inventive and introspective on the other hand those participants who observe low movement are considered stubborn and practical minded.

Human or Animals

If the participant sees human being, then he is regarded as stable. If the participant sees animals he is regarded as unstable.

  1. Thematic Apperception Test
  • Thematic Apperception Test is also known as TAT. It was designed by Morgan. Later it was developed by Murray. It is also considered as “the Imaginal Approach”.
  • This test consists 30 pictures of different life situations. Ten pictures are meant for men for women and ten for both.
  • Twenty pictures are shown to each participant. The participant can explain as much as they want to explain about the picture. It shows their own needs, motives, feeling, difficulties problems and frustrations.
  • Here participants are asked to write a story about the theme in a fixed period of time. While writing the story the participants unconsciously projects many featured of their personality.



  1. Hero:-
  2. who is Hero?
  3. What are his personality traits

Which writing the story the participant consider himself as hero and unconsciously he writes about his most dominant traits like leadership or isolation, superiority or inferiority their parental dominance etc.

  1. Emotions: – The participant narrates the story he writes about his own motives, emotions, needs and action. These are interpreted by psychologist.
  • Style: – While examining the story the psychologist helps in view:
  1. The length of the story.
  2. Language used in the story.
  3. Organization of Content
  4. The approach i.e., original or static.


  1. Theme: – What is the theme of the story? It explains many traits about participants. Whether theme is about parenteral domination, failure in every aspect of life, sex theme or any uncommon theme.


  1. Content: When the psychologist examines the content. He keeps in view about content, Interests, sentiments, attitudes, presentation of human’s behavior.


  1. Conclusion: – the psychologist also examines whether the participant has given happy or unhappy ending of the story.


  1. Children Appreciation test (CAT)
  • CAT is revised version of TAT. It is modified in such a way that the children between the ages of 3-10 can easily use it. It is devised by dr. Leopard bellak.
  • The test contains ten pictures of animals. These animals in ten cards are shown in different life situations. These cards are shown to children then they are asked to write a story about cards. The subject matter is free to write his imaginations, feeling fantasies and even about their personal problems.



  1. Hero: – The psychologist examines the response of children that who is hero of the story? What are his personality traits?
  2. Theme: – whether the children wrote about pleasant theme or unpleasant theme.
  • End: Whether the story was of happy ending or unhappy ending. The story was realistic or unrealistic. If unrealistic or unhappy then up to what extent?
  1. Family Role: – The child discloses everything about the role of his family through his story. His family is friendly or dominant, happy or unhappy and co-operative or fight with each other.
  2. Attitudes towards Parents: – Whether the child show a fearful attitude or a hostile attitude towards his patents. The child may show grateful, respectful and devoted attitude or not.

Ignored Persons: – If the child ignores one of his family members, then it means he wants that this person should not be there in his family. It means the child dislikes him.


 Although there are many ways for assessment of personality development. But no single method is the best. If someone wants to explain about the personality development of a child he should used any of these test simultaneously. 

Paramjeet Kaur

Paramjeet Kaur

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Geeta University, Panipat