Find out where your awesome personality type comes from today

In this post we will do the deep dive into where your personality type comes from and why it depends on where you get your information from as to how your personality develops.

The answers to these questions comes from an understanding of personality psychology, which as a whole is made up of many different perspectives.

Perspectives are what theorists have come to the conclusion of after conducting various tests and experiments.

One of the things many of you may not know, theories that help psychologists answer these questions started many many years ago. Scientists who were seen as crazy for thinking that the operating of someone’s brain could be the reason for their hysteria.

This post will be an overview of these theorists with links to further information if needed.

To answer the question what is personality briefly, it is the defining features of someone’s beliefs, cultural identity and emotional attitudes on how they react and respond to the world around them, or referred to as personality traits.

This means that each person’s personality type will be different to the next and best viewed as a spectrum. Where although you have similar traits to others you may have more or less of that trait than them.

Where and how these come about is what we will discuss.

Where the ideas of personality type started


It is said that the question of what is personality type started with a guy called Sigmund Freud. Yes, he’s that guy who talks about sexual desire that you have heard of. But there’s more to him than that.

Sometimes his theory can be hard to grasp because of the association with pleasure, however his key points have been used as starting points for many theorists since him.

Freud – Psychoanalytic

As a starting point, Freud saw personality as the influence of childhood events. So if you had a traumatic experience as a child, that could be stored in the unconscious mind and influencing your personality type without realising.

His initial model was like an iceberg (Topographical model). The part you can see above the water representing the conscious mind, the water line as the preconscious and the iceberg bottom as the part of the mind you can’t see, your unconscious mind.

the personality iceberg pictured showing the conscious mind is represented by the point, the preconscious mind is the water line and the unconscious mind is under the water
what is personality – psychoanalytic model

It was a model that brought a lot of uncertainty within the era. A lot of people didn’t understand how you could possibly link anything to the workings of a brain when you couldn’t see it or test it.

Testing was one of the downfalls to Freud’s theories. He only put his theories to test on a handful of people, then just used his own experiences as evidence.

Freud’s theory evolved to what we discuss in many cases today as the Psychic Apparatus and the psychosexual stages.

There are a lot of people who jump to conclusions about how “disgusting” Freud is for relating childhood with sexual desires. But he’s not, hear me out.

Psychic Apparatus model outlines the structure of the model. The id, ego and superego, in a similar fashion to the Topographical model (remember the iceberg), they each represent a stage of the mind.

Id is representative of the unconscious mind. It follows the pleasure principle so is looking for immediate gratification. It has no care for external demands, therefore separating itself from reality.

Related: Your personality vs COVID lockdown experience – they are connected

Ego operates on the reality principle. Taking into account the external demands and based operations on reality through all 3 stages of the iceberg. You can look at it as the traffic cop or mediator of the brain.

Superego is the stage where the parental rules are stored. It develops later and creates your moral compass or internal judge.

He found a correlation between anxiety and the expected tension that developed between each stage id, ego and superego. But ultimately it would be the ego that would release defence mechanisms set to help cope with the anxiety felt.

So if we do a big loop as to why this all relates to the question of what is personality. Personality type develops through the way in which we satisfy the basic impulses and urges of life instincts.

Freud does discuss sexual energy and sexuality a lot in his psychosexual stages. However think about it by remembering Freud’s work was about how people felt pleasure of the joyous kind. If people feel joy in who they are then they will feel personally accepted and positive unconscious thoughts will follow.

As you can see, there is a lot to Freud’s theory which I feel get’s left to the way-side. Mostly due to the misunderstanding of his psychosexual stages.

As well as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, many more theorists developed theories based on or following on from Frued’s.

Other Theories that explain where your personality type comes from

Psychosocial

It’s intrinsically social and that the important issues of personality concern how people relate to others. So this would be related to things like attachment to people and things. The development of your own self image and identity.

Learning Perspective


Focuses on the interpretation of conditioning. Different types of conditioning create different learned behaviours. Therefore impacting on how people then respond to events through unconscious behaviours.

An example of this might be that you have a parent that is totally afraid of spiders. Every time they see a spider or hear about a spider, they react in a fearful way. As a child, you would see this over and over again. The likelihood that you would have a fear of spiders or even a strong dislike would be very high. Acting fearful would be

Humanistic View


People’s tendency to work towards their own self-actualisation will shape their personality type. Self-actualisation means the way you develop or maintain your own self to increase your status. Maslow (another theorist) shows the humanistic view as a hierarchy of motives. With basic physical needs at the bottom and self-actualisation at the top.

These perspectives are just a few that can bring to light some answers of what is personality. The reality is, although we have some very good research to show these ideas, they are constantly evolving. As the world moves into a more technically advanced state, the opportunity for study will increase.