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While we often talk about personality, psychologists disagree on what exactly constitutes personality.
Personality is then broadly defined as the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that originate within the person and make a person unique. It is what makes you, you.
A trait is a stable characteristic or "blueprint" that causes specific behavioural patterns.
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When psychology developed as a science that was separate from biology and philosophy, they did not know how to describe the human mind and behaviour.
Different schools of psychology...
The beginnings of psychology differ significantly from contemporary conceptions of the field. Modern psychology covers a range of topics, looking at human behavior en mental processes from the neur...
Psychology was not separate from philosophy until the late 1800s.
When Ivan Pavlov and his dogs led to the discovery of learned behaviour through repeated exposure, and Edward Thorndike discovered the Law of Effect that stated that rewarded behaviours tended to increase, many psychologists were impelled to separate psychology from armchair introspection and formulated their theories as mathematical formulas.
Donald Hebb realised that existing theories were too focused on reacting to the immediate environment. Thoughts, ideas and goals could be just as strong for triggering action as sights and sounds.
Together with John Atkinson, they noted that the study of motivation had undergone a "paradigm shift", where motivation couldn't be seen as how actions get started, but how the organism decides to change its behaviour from one thing to another.