Temperament And Personality

Temperament And Personality


Temperament and personality are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. According to psychologists, temperament is the set of innate traits that a person is born with. It includes characteristics like emotional sensitivity, activity level, and adaptability. Personality is the set of traits that develop over time as a person interacts with their environment. It includes characteristics like openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion.


Temperament is largely determined by genetics and can be observed in babies as young as a few weeks old. There are three broad temperament types: easy, difficult, and slow to warm up.

  • Easy temperament: These babies are generally calm, happy, and adaptable. They sleep and eat well, and handle change without fuss.
  • Difficult temperament: These babies are fussy, irritable, and hard to soothe. They often have trouble sleeping and eating, and may be resistant to change.
  • Slow to warm up temperament: These babies are shy and cautious around new people or situations. They need time to adjust and may be hesitant to try new things.

Temperament is not set in stone and can change over time. For example, an easy baby may become more difficult as they grow and encounter new challenges. However, temperament does provide a foundation for personality development.


Personality is shaped by many factors, including environment, culture, and experience. Psychologists have identified five broad personality traits, known as the “Big Five”. They are:

  • Openness: This trait refers to a person’s openness to new experiences and ideas. Open people are imaginative, curious, and creative.
  • Conscientiousness: This trait refers to a person’s level of organization, responsibility, and self-discipline. Conscientious people are dependable, reliable, and goal-oriented.
  • Extraversion: This trait refers to a person’s level of social engagement and energy. Extraverted people are outgoing, talkative, and energetic.
  • Agreeableness: This trait refers to a person’s level of friendliness and cooperation. Agreeable people are kind, empathetic, and supportive.
  • Neuroticism: This trait refers to a person’s level of emotional stability and reactivity. Neurotic people are easily upset, anxious, and prone to negative emotions.

Personality Development

Personality development is a lifelong process that is influenced by many factors. Childhood experiences, education, and socialization all contribute to the development of personality. However, genetics also play a role. Twin studies have shown that identical twins, who share the same genes, are more similar in personality than fraternal twins, who share only half of their genes.

Personality can also change over time. As people encounter new experiences and challenges, they may develop new traits or strengthen existing ones. For example, a shy child may become more outgoing as they make friends and gain confidence.

Temperament And Personality In Relationships

Temperament and personality can play a significant role in romantic and platonic relationships. People with similar temperaments and personalities may find it easier to get along and form strong bonds. However, differences can also be complementary. For example, an extraverted person may bring out the social side in a shy, introverted partner.

Communication is key in any relationship, and understanding each other’s temperament and personality can help partners communicate more effectively. A partner who understands that their significant other is easily overwhelmed by change can make accommodations to help them feel more comfortable and secure.


Temperament and personality are fundamental aspects of human psychology. Temperament provides the foundation for personality development, and both can change over time in response to experiences and environment. Understanding your own temperament and personality can help you understand yourself and communicate more effectively with others.


FAQs about Temperament and Personality

1. What is the difference between temperament and personality?

Temperament refers to innate traits and characteristics that are present from birth and contribute to how an individual perceives and reacts to the world around them. On the other hand, personality encompasses a broader range of traits and behaviors that are shaped by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

2. Can temperament and personality change over time?

While temperament is largely stable throughout a person’s life, some aspects of personality can shift or evolve over time. Experiences and life events can influence how a person expresses certain traits, while cognitive development and maturation can also alter personality.

3. Can temperament and personality impact relationships?

Yes, a person’s temperament and personality play a crucial role in how they form and maintain relationships. Individuals with certain temperaments may find it easier or more challenging to connect with others, while those with different personalities may struggle to balance their own needs with those of their partner or friends. Understanding one’s temperament and personality is key to building healthy and satisfying relationships.


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