1. Are Your Genes To Blame?

    Study after study has shown that genes can affect behavior and mental life. Identical twins separated at birth (who share their genes but not their environment) are similar in their intellectual talents, their personality traits (such as introversion, conscientiousness, and antagonism), their average level of lifelong happiness, and personal quirks such as giggling incessantly or flushing the toilet both before and after using it. Identical twins (who share all their genes) are more similar than fraternal twins (who share half their genes). And biological siblings (who share half their genes) are more similar than adopted siblings (who share none of their genes). It’s not only personality and intelligence that are partly heritable, but susceptibility to psychological maladies such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depression.

    The discovery that genes have something to do with behavior came as a shock in an era in which people thought that the mind of a newborn was a blank slate and that anyone could do anything if only they strove hard enough. And it continues to set off alarm bells. Many people worry about a Brave New World in which parents or governments will try to re-engineer human nature. Others see genes as a threat to free will and personal responsibility, citing headlines such as “Man’s genes made him kill, his lawyers claim.” Behavioral geneticists are sometimes picketed, censored, or compared to Nazis. 
    With increasing knowledge of how the genome works, many beliefs about ourselves will indeed have to be rethought. But the worst fears of the genophobes are misplaced. It is easy to exaggerate the significance of behavioral genetics for our lives.

    For one thing, genes cannot pull the strings of behavior directly. Behavior is caused by the activity of the brain, and the most the genes can do is affect its wiring, its size and shape, and its sensitivity to hormones and other molecules. Among the brain circuits laid down by the genes are ones that reflect on memories, current circumstance, and the anticipated consequences of various courses of action and that select behavior accordingly, in an intricate and not entirely predictable way. These circuits are what we call “free will,” and providing them with information about the likely consequences of behavioral options is what we call “holding people responsible.” All normal people have this circuitry, and that is why the existence of genes with effects on behavior should not be allowed to erode responsibility in the legal system or in everyday life.

    Also, don’t count on the I’ll-let-you-go-now gene –or any other single gene with a large behavioral effect — being identified any time soon. Behavioral genetics has uncovered a paradox. Studies that measure similarities among twins and adoptees reliably show strong effects of sharing many genes (such as half a genome, or all of one). The outcome is so reliable that behavioral geneticists now speak of the First Law of their field: that all behavioral traits are partly heritable.

    But studies that try to isolate a single gene for a behavioral trait have been fickle; many of putative genes-for-X have not held up in replications. Genes must exert their effects by acting together in complex combinations. A rough analogy: a computer program can have a trait, such as being easy to use, without necessarily having a single magical programming instruction that makes any program easy to use when added and any program hard to use when omitted. 
    So psychological engineering is more remote than the futurologists would have you believe. Though musical talent may be partly heritable, there is probably no single gene for musical talent that ambitious parents can have implanted into their unborn children. It might take hundreds or thousands of the right genes, with a different combination needed for each child.

    Finally, the fact that genes matter doesn’t mean that other things don’t matter. Some of these causes are obvious. There are no genes for speaking English or for being a Presbyterian (though there may be sets of genes for verbal skill and religiosity). These depend entirely on one’s culture. Others are less obvious, such as germs, accidents, chance encounters in life, and random events in the development of the brain in utero.

    And still other environmental factors may not act as we think they do. It’s easy to assume that the variation in behavior that is not caused by genes must be caused by parents. But it’s been surprisingly hard to demonstrate any long-term effects of growing up in a particular family within a culture. Identical twins reared together are similar, but they are not literally identical: one may be more anxious than the other, one may be gay and the other straight. This shows that genes are not everything – but since these twins grow up in the same family, it also shows that what isn’t explained by genes isn’t explained by family influences either. Similarly, children need to hear English to acquire it. But if their parents are immigrants, they end up with the accent of their peers, not their parents.

    Though the effects of genes may be easy to overestimate, they are also easy to underestimate. Many failed utopias of the twentieth century dreamed of nurturing a “new man” free of selfishness, family ties, and individual differences. Some psychotherapists promise what they cannot deliver, such as transforming a shy person into a bold one or a sad sack into a barrel of monkeys.

    None of this means that social and personal improvement are a waste of time. Even if each of us is born with a range of temperament and talent, we can try to reach the best point in that range. And even if we have a nature, part of that nature is an open-ended ingenuity that can think up possible solutions to our problems. Using our genes as an excuse for fatalism is unwise. But so is pretending that they don’t matter at all.

    pinker.wjh.harvard.edu

  2. PUBLIC SELF:
The Public Self is the part of ourselves that we are happy to share with others and discuss openly. Thus you and I both see and can talk openly about this ‘me’ and gain a common view of who I am in this element.
PRIVATE SELF:
There are often parts of our selves that are too private to share with others. We hide these away and refuse to discuss them with other people or even expose them in any way.
Private elements may be embarrassing or shameful in some way. They may also be fearful or seek to avoid being discussed for reasons of vulnerability.
Between the public and private selves, there are partly private, partly public aspects of our selves that we are prepared to share only with trusted others.
BLIND SELF:
We often assume that the public and private selves are all that we are. However, the views that others have of us may be different from those we have of ourselves. For example a person who considers themself as intelligent may be viewed as an arrogant and socially ignorant by others.
Our blind self may remain blind because others will not discuss this part of us for a range of reasons. Perhaps they realize that we would be unable to accept what they see. Perhaps they have tried to discuss this and we have been so blind that we assume their views are invalid. They may also withhold this information as it gives them power over us.
UNDISCOVERED SELF:
Finally, the fourth self is one which neither us or nor other people see. This undiscovered self may include both good and bad things that may remain forever undiscovered or may one day be discovered, entering the private, blind or maybe even public selves.
Between the Blind and Undiscovered Selves, are partly hidden selves that only some people see. Psychologists and those who are more empathic, for example, may well see more than the average person.
Four personas
Associated with the Johari Window, we can define four different personas, based on the largest ‘self’.
1. The Open Persona
Someone with an open persona is both very self-aware (with a small blind self) and is quite happy to expose their self to others (a small private self).

The Open person is usually the most ‘together’ and relaxed of the personas. They are so comfortable with themselves they are not ashamed or troubled with the notion of other people seeing themselves are they really are.
With a small Blind Self, they make less social errors and cause less embarrassment. They are also in a more powerful position in negotiations, where they have less weaknesses to be exploited.
Becoming and Open Persona usually takes people much time and effort, unless they were blessed with a wonderful childhood and grew up well-adjusted from the beginning. It can require courage to accept others honest views and also to share your deeper self and plumb the depths of the undiscovered self.
The weaker side of the Open Persona is where they understand and share themselves, but do not understand others. They may thus dump embarrassing information from their Private Selves onto others who are not ready to accept it.
2. The Naive Persona
The Naive person has a large Blind Self that others can see. They thus may make significant social gaffes and not even realize what they have done or how others see them. They hide little about themselves and are typically considered as harmless by others, who either treat them in kind and perhaps patronizing ways (that go unnoticed) or take unkind advantage of their naivety.

The Naive Persona may also be something of a bull in a china shop, for example using aggression without realizing the damage that it does, and can thus be disliked or feared. They may also wear their heart on their sleeves and lack the emotional intelligence to see how others see them.
3. The Secret Persona 
When a person has a large Private Self, they may appear distant and secretive to others. They talk little about themselves and may spend a significant amount of time ensconced in their own private world. In conversations they say little and, as a result, may not pay a great deal of attention to others.

Having a smaller Blind Self (often because they give little away), the Secret Persona may well be aware of their introverted tendencies, but are seldom troubled about this. Where they are troubled, their introversion is often as a result of personal traumas that have led them to retreat from the world.
4. The Mysterious Persona
Sometimes people are a mystery to themselves as well as to other people. They act in strange ways and do not notice it. They may be very solitary, yet not introverted.

As the Mysterious Persona knows relatively little about themselves, they may be of low intelligence, not being able to relate either to themselves or to others. They may also just prefer to live in the moment, taking each day as it comes and not seeking self-awareness.
changingminds: The Johari Window

    PUBLIC SELF:

    The Public Self is the part of ourselves that we are happy to share with others and discuss openly. Thus you and I both see and can talk openly about this ‘me’ and gain a common view of who I am in this element.

    PRIVATE SELF:

    There are often parts of our selves that are too private to share with others. We hide these away and refuse to discuss them with other people or even expose them in any way.

    Private elements may be embarrassing or shameful in some way. They may also be fearful or seek to avoid being discussed for reasons of vulnerability.

    Between the public and private selves, there are partly private, partly public aspects of our selves that we are prepared to share only with trusted others.

    BLIND SELF:

    We often assume that the public and private selves are all that we are. However, the views that others have of us may be different from those we have of ourselves. For example a person who considers themself as intelligent may be viewed as an arrogant and socially ignorant by others.

    Our blind self may remain blind because others will not discuss this part of us for a range of reasons. Perhaps they realize that we would be unable to accept what they see. Perhaps they have tried to discuss this and we have been so blind that we assume their views are invalid. They may also withhold this information as it gives them power over us.

    UNDISCOVERED SELF:

    Finally, the fourth self is one which neither us or nor other people see. This undiscovered self may include both good and bad things that may remain forever undiscovered or may one day be discovered, entering the private, blind or maybe even public selves.

    Between the Blind and Undiscovered Selves, are partly hidden selves that only some people see. Psychologists and those who are more empathic, for example, may well see more than the average person.

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  3. Personality

    Here are a number of definitions of personality from across the years:

    ‘The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment’ – Allport, 1937

    ‘that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation.’ – Cattell, 1965

    ‘One’s habits and usual style, but also…ability to play roles.’ – Cronbach, 1984

    ‘personality traits are the key antecedent of an individual’s cognitions and affective states that may influence his or her task and interpersonal or socio-emotional role behavior (in teams). – Moynihan and Peterson, 2001

    Measurement of personality

    Measured as ‘a set of items, usually questions or statements about feelings, or behavior, to which subjects have to respond by answering the question, or agreeing or disagreeing with the statements.’ – Kline, 1993

    'Measure of both internal dimensions, or feelings, and external dimensions, or behaviors' – Searle, 2003

    In practice

    In practice, personality is how we see ourselves and others. It is how we describe a person as noisy, thoughtful, decisive and so on. In fact the language is laden with descriptors that we use every day to describe personality.

    Measurement of personality is used often to help recruit the right person into a job. In some ways it also appears in mystic prediction system such as astrology.

    (Source)

  4. Personality Models and Tests

    There are a range of models relating to personality. although some are more about preferences and typing than inherent personality. These include:

  5. Are you a different person when you speak a different language?

    People who are bicultural and speak two languages may actually shift their personalities when they switch from one language to another.

    "Language can be a cue that activates different culture-specific frames," write David Luna (Baruch College), Torsten Ringberg, and Laura A. Peracchio (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

    The authors studied groups of Hispanic women, all of whom were bilingual, but with varying degrees of cultural identification. They found significant levels of “frame-shifting” (changes in self perception) in bicultural participants-those who participate in both Latino and Anglo culture. While frame-shifting has been studied before, the new research found that biculturals switched frames more quickly and easily than bilingual monoculturals.

    The authors found that the women classified themselves as more assertive when they spoke Spanish than when they spoke English. They also had significantly different perceptions of women in ads when the ads were in Spanish versus English. “In the Spanish-language sessions, informants perceived females as more self-sufficient and extroverted,” write the authors.

    In one of the studies, a group of bilingual U.S. Hispanic women viewed ads that featured women in different scenarios. The participants saw the ads in one language (English or Spanish) and then, six months later, they viewed the same ads in the other language. Their perceptions of themselves and the women in the ads shifted depending on the language. “One respondent, for example, saw an ad’s main character as a risk-taking, independent woman in the Spanish version of the ad, but as a hopeless, lonely, confused woman in the English version,” write the authors.

    The shift in perception seems to happen unconsciously, and may have broad implications for consumer behavior and political choices among biculturals.

    David Luna, Torsten Ringberg, and Laura A. Peracchio. “One Individual, Two Identities: Frame-Switching Among Biculturals” Journal of Consumer Research: August 2008.

  6. When You Don’t Like Yourself

    People filled with self-loathing typically imagine they dislike every part of themselves, but this is rarely, if ever, true. More commonly, if asked what specific parts of themselves they dislike, they’re able to provide specific answers: their physical appearance, their inability to excel academically or at a job, or maybe their inability to accomplish their dreams. Yet when presented, for example, a scenario in which they come upon a child trapped under a car at the scene of an accident, that they recoil in horror and would want urgently to do something to help rarely causes them to credit themselves for the humanity such a reaction indicates.

    Why do self-loathers so readily overlook the good parts of themselves? The answer in most cases turns out to relate not to the fact that they have negative qualities but to the disproportionate weight they lend them. People who dislike themselves may acknowledge they have positive attributes but any emotional impact they have simply gets blotted out.

    Which makes learning to like oneself no easy task. Many people, in fact, spend a lifetime in therapy in pursuit of self-love, struggling as if learning a new language as an adult rather than as a child.

    Before such a change will occur, however, the essential cause of one’s self-loathing needs to be apprehended. By this I don’t mean the historical cause. The circumstances that initially lead people to dislike themselves do so by triggering a thought process of self-loathing that continues long after the circumstances that set it in motion have resolved, a thought process that continues to gain momentum the longer it remains unchallenged, much like a boulder picks up speed rolling down a mountain as long as nothing gets in its way. For example, your parents may have failed to praise you or support your accomplishments in school when you were young—perhaps even largely ignored you—which led you to conclude they didn’t care about you, which then led you to conclude you’re not worth caring about. It’s this last idea, not the memory of your parents ignoring you, that gathers the power within your life to make you loathe yourself if not checked by adult reasoning early on. Once a narrative of worthlessness embeds itself in one’s mind, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to disbelieve it, especially when one can find evidence that it represents a true account.

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  7. Big Five personality traits

    In contemporary psychology, the “Big Five” factors (or Five Factor Model; FFM) of personality are five broad domains or dimensions of personality which are used to describe human personality. They are:

    Openness – (inventive / curious vs. consistent / cautious). Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.
    Conscientiousness – (efficient / organized vs. easy-going / careless). A tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
    Extraversion – (outgoing / energetic vs. shy / reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others.
    Agreeableness – (friendly / compassionate vs. cold / unkind). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.
    Neuroticism – (sensitive / nervous vs. secure / confident). A tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability.

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  8. Imposter Syndrome

    The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It is not an officially recognized psychological disorder, but has been the subject of numerous books and articles by psychologists and educators. The term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978.[1]

    Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

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