Personality—it’s who we are. Our personalities determine how we act and react, as well as how we interact with and respond to the world. Despite much research, the origins of personality are still a mystery, though there are many theories that attempt to explain them. Some researchers propose that children learn personality from their parents; others believe personality is fixed from birth. Some theories address how environment, genetics, and culture influence the development of personality.

What does it mean to have “personality”? Someone with personality could be funny, passionate, daring, extroverted, aggressive, egotistical, hot-tempered, or insecure. He or she might be altruistic, humble, mellow, shy, or wary. He or she might even be all or any of these things at different times and in different places, depending on the situation. Researchers have developed many ways of assessing personality, but even if we do gain an understanding of how we are, the question of why we’re that way remains.

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