The term personality appears in most cultures. There are different reasons to explain what it is and why it occurs. In medieval times people attributed it to the balance of the four bodily humours. Other popular ideas about personality come from astrology, the zodiac, facial features and even blood type.
In psychology one explanation for personality is that it is a response to dealing with conflict. Change and stress is a large part of life. We each adapt differently to it based on genetics, our environment and our personal choices. This adaptive behaviour develops in early life and follows us into our adult lives.
In early life three types of attachment styles can develop between the infant and the caregiver: avoidant attachment, secure attachment and insecure attachment. Attachment styles are one way we develop solutions to conflict. In an evolutionary standpoint, attachment styles increase the odds of survival for the infant.
This same style of attachment is seen later during other relationships. The insecure and avoidant styles are maladaptive at this point and can lead to further conflict and trouble.
Another idea contributing to personality is the birth order. Often the oldest sibling is in the leadership position and they will continue this position later in life. Younger siblings tend to be looked after and slightly immature because of this.
Personality isn’t rigid and will change throughout the course of life. Some factors do stay but can fluctuate with experience and maturity. Overall, personality is a conflict management tool we all have.