The Puzzle Of Personality

This is a funny but insightful TED talk by Dr. Brian Little discussing personality.  Dr. Brian Little is currently at Cambridge University where he is a fellow of the Well-Being Institute and director of the social ecology research group in the department of psychology.  He is a well-known scholar and speaker in the field of personality and motivational psychology.

I am planning to write about few important personality theories and assessments that are contemporary and relevant to those who are willing to realize their full potential. I thought this would be a great video to start that series.

In this TED talk, Dr. Little talks about the classic dimension of personality assessments: Extroversion Vs. Introversion. He briefly mentions Big 5, and then elaborates introversion in details with his unmistakable, humorous insights. He explains how extroverts seek stimulation and introverts avoid over-stimulation, which is obviously subjective. He also clarifies that being introvert and being quiet does not necessarily mean being anti-social. This is what he says about how introverts converse –

I am as extreme an introvert as you could possibly imagine – we speak differently. We prefer contextually complex, contingent, weasel-word sentences.

He mentions biological, cultural and individual factors of personality and asserts that it is not essentially putting people in pigeonholes. I like the way he puts it –

Is that all we are? Are we just a bunch of traits? No, we’re not. Remember, you’re like some other people and like no other person. How about that idiosyncratic you?

He also discusses how, when and why we are likely to behave out of character and moreover, how we may exhibit some free traits that may identify us better than our personality type. He calls them as “core projects” and based on what he says about it – I believe it is close to what I had written about calling or purpose here: In search of calling.  Dr. Little says that we enact those free traits based on our own core projects in life and that makes us unique. You can watch his talk here –

If you are really interested, you can read Dr. Brian Little’s book on personality: Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being. You can also watch Susan Cain’s  TED talk The power of introverts explaining introversion in wonderful details.

The featured image used with this article is taken from the TED talk included here.

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