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WAH ENGINEERING COLLEGE
Course: Industrial Psychology and Human Behavior
Course Code: ME-403
Instructor: Mr. Nabi Ahmad
Name: Umer Shamshad
Reg. #: UW-14-ME-BSc-056
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Wah Engineering College, University of Wah
PERSONALITY AND POSITIVE EMOTIONS
DEFINITION OF PERSONALITY
Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and
behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual
differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is
understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. Personality is usually
defined as the set of habitual behaviors, cognitions and emotional patterns that evolve from
biological and environmental factors. While there is no generally agreed upon definition of
personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with one’s
environment. Trait-based personality theories, such as those defined by Raymond Cattell define
personality as the traits that predict a person's behavior. On the other hand, more behaviorally
based approaches define personality through learning and habits.
If we focus on the personality of a specific individual, we can define it as that person’s
particular set of enduring dispositions or long-term tendencies to think, feel and act in particular
Someone who has tended to be quiet and reserved up to now will probably still tend to be
quiet and reserved tomorrow. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are compelled to be quiet
and reserved at all times, in every possible situation. Rather, they are disposed to be quiet and
reserved more often than not. We can also sometimes see changes in an individual’s personality
over time. There may be subtle developmental changes during adolescence, for example, or there
can be quite dramatic alterations following a massive brain injury. Some psychologists see it one
way and some see it the other way. For example:
“Your personality style is your organizing principle. It propels you on your life
path. It represents the orderly arrangement of all your attributes, thoughts, feelings,
attitudes, behaviors, and coping mechanisms. It is the distinctive pattern of your
psychological functioning—the way you think, feel, and behave—that makes you
The study of the psychology of personality, called personality psychology, attempts to
explain the tendencies that underlie differences in behavior. Many approaches have been taken
to studying personality, including biological, cognitive, learning and trait based theories, as well as
psychodynamic, and humanistic approaches. Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that
studies personality and its variation among individuals. Its areas of focus include:
Construction of a coherent picture of the individual and their major psychological
Investigation of individual psychological differences.
Investigation of human nature and psychological similarities between individuals.
The study of personality has a broad and varied history in psychology with an abundance
of theoretical traditions. The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective,
psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist, evolutionary, and social learning perspective.
Experiencing positive emotions frequently has a very favorable effect upon several
psychological processes. To be in a good mood, to feel optimistic, to feel satisfied with one's life,
to experience well-being and happiness, and to consider that the quality of one's life is good are
not only desirable but, very probably, essential aspects of the healthy personality.
In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical
and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior.
Emotionality is associated with a range of psychological phenomena, including
temperament, personality, mood, and motivation. According to author David G. Meyers, human
emotion involves "...physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience."
Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high
degree of pleasure or displeasure. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament,
personality, disposition, and motivation. In some theories, cognition is an important aspect of
emotion. Those acting primarily on the emotions they are feeling may seem as if they are not
thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events. For
example, the realization of our believing that we are in a dangerous situation and the subsequent
arousal of our body's nervous system (rapid heartbeat and breathing, sweating, muscle tension) is
integral to the experience of our feeling afraid.
TYPES OF EMOTIONS
The emotions expressed by humans can be divided into two broad categories. We can
regard them as polarized, as opposite of each other, or we could just say that there is a dividing
line where one type of emotions change into the other type of emotions. There are basically two
types of emotions:
Positive emotions express an attempt or an intention to include. Taking the whole into
consideration. Working on learning more viewpoints, interacting more with others, enjoying
making things better. Positive emotions are fueled by an underlying desire for enjoyment and
unity. Positive emotions are, for example: interest, enthusiasm, boredom, laughter, empathy,
Negative emotions express an attempt or intention to exclude. Strengthening one's own
position at the expense of others. Keeping bad stuff away, destroying what is perceived as a threat.
Negative emotions are fueled by an underlying fear of the unknown, a fear of the actions of others,
and a need to control them or stop them to avoid being harmed. Negative emotions are, for
example: apathy, grief, fear, hatred, shame, blame, regret, resentment, anger, hostility.
Below is a table of some common positive and negative emotions.
Some emotions camouflage as positive or negative, but really are the opposite of what
they pretend. There is a type of pity which appears as genuine concern for others, but which is
rather taking comfort in that somebody else is worse off than you. There is a covert hostility that
masks as friendliness, which can often be difficult to assess at first. Likewise, some kinds of anger
or tears might look negative, but might really be an expression of involvement and care for the
whole. It is the underlying mechanism and motivation that counts, more than the superficial
outward manifestation. It might sound like the negative emotions are just something to get rid of.
It is not that simple, however. They serve important functions. Basically they show that there is
something one doesn't know and can't deal with. If that becomes motivation to then learn it and
deal with it that is very useful. If one is always joyful, one might miss noticing things that are wrong.
Positive and negative emotions are polarities. We can't get rid of one and just keep the other.
Ultimately they need to be integrated. The negative emotions are useful as motivation for moving
away from what one doesn't want. The positive emotions are useful as motivation for moving
towards what one does want.
PERSONALITY AND POSITIVE EMOTIONS
There are many papers, studies, and projects dealing with the role of different negative
emotions on personality: no model forgets anxiety in personality dynamics; during recent decades
the study of depression has attracted much attention from researchers, and hostility and anger
have also been preferred topics. Considerably less effort has been devoted to the comprehension
of joy or happiness and other positive states and to the analysis of their effects upon the total
There must be reasons for our neglect. One of them, which literature illustrates perfectly,
is that negative feelings attract more attention. Their functions, both ontogenetically and
philogenetically, may be more important for survival. Second, the predominance of intense,
stormy, and very often dysfunctional feelings and emotions in literary writings and scientific
research could, in fact, reflect people's general tendency to consider satisfaction and enjoyment
as more simplistic, uninteresting, and less `sophisticated' feelings than other pernicious passions.
And third, maybe we simply take normality for granted. To sum up, it appears that:
Positive affect is not as salient for researchers as negative affect
The specific elements which define positive emotionality are less differentiated than those
which make up negative affect.
According to a study, it is stated that each particular emotion serves specific functions in
the individual's organization. Each emotion motivates characteristic patterns of responses.
Therefore, the specific analysis of concrete positive emotions is very necessary. There are,
however, many positive emotions which are very relevant to human personality.
`Well-being emotions' arise when some event is contributing to the realization of one's
goals. Joy is the typical emotion in this case, which occurs when `one is pleased about a desirable
event'. However, the rest of the author's listed emotions can also contribute in many ways to well-
being: human empathy, for instance, will activate `happy-for' emotions (one is pleased about an
event presumed to be desirable for someone else) or one may have a `funny' type of happiness if
he/she experiences the so-called `gloating emotions' (one is pleased about an event presumed to
be undesirable for someone he/she does not like). One may also be happy due to the experience
of what the authors call `prospect emotions', such as Hope (to be pleased about the prospect of a
desirable event, still unconfirmed), Satisfaction (being pleased about the confirmation of the
prospect of a desirable event), and even Relief (pleased about the disconfirmation of the prospect
of an undesirable event). Other, more complex positive emotions will appear as a reaction not to
the event, but to the agent that was instrumental in causing it: Pride (approving of one's own
praiseworthy action), and Admiration (or esteem, respect, etc.): approving of someone else's
praiseworthy action. Finally, another form of positive emotion, Love, will be the result of liking an
appealing object; by its very nature it is presumed to be short lived.
PERSONALITY AND AFFECT
One of the main functions of the emotional system is to organize and motivate specific
response patterns. Experiencing particular emotions frequently contributes to the organization of
characteristic forms of cognition and behavior. The recurring sequence emotion-cognition-
behavior may lead to the development of particular, regular patterns of response, that is, (to)
personality traits. According to this, an issue of vital importance in personality psychology would
be explaining the genesis of the ability to experience positive emotions frequently. The essential
parameter for this has been shown to be the frequency with which both types of emotion are
experienced, rather than the intensity of the emotional experience itself. It has been said that
emotions are relevant to explain psychopathology mainly when they are either too extreme or too
intense or when they are absent or insufficient. In both psychopathology and psychotherapy,
efforts have been devoted to explaining and removing inadequate emotions. It is agreed that
effective therapies are those which succeed in teaching people to suffer less. However, many
problems arise when there is an absence of positive and fulfilling emotions. Psychotherapy will not
do enough if it only eliminates negative feelings.
CONSEQUENCES OF POSITIVE EMOTIONS UPON THE PERSONALITY SYSTEM
Probably the most studied field has been the effect of positive mood on cognitive
processing: memory, problem-solving, and decision-making. In general, mood-biased judgment-
the trend for judgment to be skewed toward positive evaluations when in a good mood-seems a
well-grounded phenomenon. Positive feelings have been found to be cues for the recall of positive
materials in memory. It seems that positive affect generates a motive to try to maintain the
positive feeling state, while negative affect tends to generate efforts to escape from it. People
under positive affect avoid focusing on negative information and escape difficult or unpleasant
tasks, unless they are necessary. Positive affect has also been found to promote cognitive
flexibility, innovative response, and stimulation seeking; sometimes it can be a source of intrinsic
motivation, can further self-protection in clearly negative situations, facilitates planning, and
shortens the time spent in reaching decisions. Furthermore, it has been found that people in a
positive state are more prone to respond with generosity and helpfulness to others.
Positive emotions constitute a very significant aspect of the human personality which has
been insufficiently considered. Negative emotions attract more attention. At an individual level,
negative states should be overcome, and, when negative emotions are studied as a research topic,
their functions appear to be more significant for survival. Positive emotions, however, are
extremely important for many psychological processes and, according to surveys and clinical data,
it would also appear that the human mind has a rather positive orientation. Among the topics that
deserve more attention, I would highlight the study of the functions of specific positive emotions,
the ontogenetically development of emotional traits, the analysis of the consequences of positive
emotions for several areas and processes, and the clarification of the role of positive emotions in
psychopathology and in psychotherapy.