Becoming Who We Are


The importance of personality cannot be understated as far aspersonal growth, development and the interaction among people areconcerned. Personality underlines the individual variations thatexist in the characteristic behavioral, feeling and thinking patternsof individuals. Essentially, personality determines the values,beliefs and behaviors that an individual sees as appropriate or holdsdear, which eventually come to determine who he or she is. However,researchers and scholars alike have been primarily concerned aboutnot only the variations that exist between the characteristics ofindividuals but also the factors that cause these variations(Shaffer, 2009). While there may be differing opinions, it is quiteevident that the personality of an individual is primarily a productof not only genetic factors but also the environment within which heor she is brought up, situational factors and social interactionsamong others.

One of the key factors that determine personality is genes orbiological factors. Scholars have underlined the fact that biologicalfactors come off as extremely crucial in the formation of thepersonality of an individual (Shaffer, 2009). It has beenacknowledged that children born of particular individuals or incertain families inherit some genes from their parents that instillin them certain features or traits. Not only would the childreninherit physical elements such as height, complexion and looks, butalso mental and behavioral ones such as courage, intelligence,cowardice, extreme anger among others (Shaffer, 2009). Apart frominheritance of genes that incline individuals to certain traits, itis often the case that some genetic mutations will occur inindividuals prior to being born if their parents consume certainsubstances such as alcohol and drugs. This is the case for acondition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, where individuals becomepredisposed to criminal behavior as a result of genetic mutationscaused by the consumption of alcohol during the first threetrimesters.

In addition, personality may be determined by social factors. Ininstances where individuals interact with other people in theirsociety, there may be a give and take relationship. In this case, theindividual would take in some traits, beliefs and values of the otherpeople, while the other people would take in some of his in aparticular way. This mutual influence would determine the beliefs andvalues of an individual. Of course, it may be well acknowledged thatthe individuals would, in some cases, have the capacity to determinethe behaviors that he or she is to take. This, however, does notdiminish or undermine the influence that the social associations ofan individual have on the personality of that person. This isactually the basis of peer influence, which recognizes the fact thatthe company that an individual keeps would eventually determine thevalues that he or she perceives to be appropriate at any given time.

On the same note, individual personality may be a function ofcultural factors. Scholars have acknowledged that the personality ofan individual may be affected by both material and non-materialculture. An individual that lives in a particular cultural settingwould tend to, consciously and subconsciously, adopt thecharacteristics, values and beliefs that are deemed to be appropriatein that society (Shaffer, 2009). The cultural boundaries of anysociety determine the personality and behaviors pertaining to anindividual, with particular expectations being made regarding themost appropriate actions and beliefs in line with culture.Eventually, individuals would follow every other social normpertaining to a culture, which eventually leads to the formation ofappropriate personality while non-conformity to these cultural rulesis deemed to be inappropriate (Shaffer, 2009). Essentially, anindividual would be seeking satisfaction in a particular culturethrough adjusting himself or herself to its rules and regulation,which, eventually, form his personality.

Similarly, the personality of an individual may be influenced by thephysical environment within which he lives. The environmental factorsthat would shape personality or determine the traits that eventuallyform the individual include the atmosphere, land, mountains, forests,rivers or hills. Scholars have acknowledged that every otherattitude, feeling, habit and behavior or even the physical structureis the product of the physical environment that an individual livesin or belongs to (Shaffer, 2009). For instance, the health,complexion, physique and body structure of rural individuals differsimmensely from that of urban individuals. These individuals havevarying environments, which result in the development of varyingpersonalities (Shaffer, 2009). A large proportion of city dwellershave numerous facilities that are alien to their rural counterparts,which essentially results in the creation or development of extremelydelicate bodies and minds as compared to the rural individuals whoare deficient of these facilities. It is common for individuals fromurban areas to lack varied skills or even have the will, courage anddetermination to exist in the rural areas as they have always hadfacilities that made work easier for them. Eventually, theirmentality becomes extremely different from that of their ruralcounterparts. Similarly, individuals from rural areas may not have asmuch exposure as their urban counterparts, in which case their valuesand beliefs are yet to be changed by interaction with individualsfrom other parts of the globe (Shaffer, 2009). It would be common,therefore, for such individuals to think of people from other tribesand races in a particular way, or even lack the confidence to go tocertain places as they have not been sufficiently exposed to suchlives.

Lastly, individual personality may be influenced by situationalfactors. It has been acknowledged that the experiences of anindividual shape his beliefs and behaviors in specific ways. Forinstance, it is common for people to be deemed as extremely calm andcollected, respectful and reserved, only for them to change when theyencounter issues or situations that demand that they act in adifferent way. A case in point is an army general who is deemed to beeasy going by his family and friends but comes off as extremelystrict with his subordinates or juniors.

In conclusion, personality comes off as extremely important indetermining the stand of an individual on certain issues. However, itis also important that one examines the factors that influence thedevelopment of personality in an individual. It may be acknowledgedthat an individual personality is not the product of a single factorbut rather a function of different variables including environment,genetic or biological factors, situations within which an individuallives, the physical environment, society and its rules andregulations, as well as the social links that an individual has. Ofcourse, some of these factors have much more bearing on thedevelopment of individual personality than others in the long-term.For some, the individual would have the ultimate control on whathappens, while the same may not be the case for others.


Shaffer, D. R. (2009).&nbspSocial and personality development.Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.


What is personality?

What factors affect personality?

Thesis statement: While there may be differing opinions, it is quiteevident that the personality of an individual is primarily a productof not only genetic factors but also the environment within which heor she is brought up, situational factors and social interactionsamong others.

Genetic factors: Influence of genetic factors.

Social factors: The role that peers play in shaping personality,developing beliefs and values. How mutual influence occurs.

Cultural factors: The role of rules and regulations in shapingpersonality.

Physical environment: Comparison between the personalities ofindividuals in different environments.

Situational factors: Different behaviors of individuals in differentenvironments.



Personality comes as one of the most crucial aspects of anindividual. It not only shapes his or her likes and preferences butalso the values and aspirations that he or she has for his life. Moreoften than not, individuals even within the same family will havevarying behaviors and personalities. This underlines the fact thatthere may be variations in the factors that account for thepersonalities of individuals. The personality of an individual isoften shaped by varied factors including genetic factors, socialconnections, physical environments, or even the situation that anindividual is in within a particular time. This would explain thevariations and similarities between the individuals in the sameenvironment or families. In the case of genetic factors, it is notedthat the genetic modifications and mutations may cause behavioralchanges or influence the behaviors of individuals. Similarly, theinteractions between individuals would shape behavior and personalityas individuals take certain beliefs and values from each other. Onthe same note, the physical environment would influence thepersonality of the individual as it determines the capabilities ofthe individuals, as is the case for situational factors asdemonstrated by the variations in individual behavior in varyingsituations.