Personality formation is one of the crucial processes for a person. It occurs to one degree or another throughout human life. Through this process, people acquire certain traits. Many of them are universal for the society in which a person is brought up. For example, this is influenced by education, religion, territorial position, and many other factors. For this reason, some aspects of behavior that are common in one culture are not acceptable to many others. The purpose of this paper is to study how and why the formation and development of personality traits occurs.
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There is a universal model that describes basic human traits: The Big Five. This model allows people to highlight human behavior’s main features and classify them (Ali, 2014). The first human trait, according to this model, is openness. Depending on various external and internal factors, a person can be either bold and curious, or conservative and not prone to change. The second trait is conscientiousness, on the manifestations of which organization, impulsiveness, and susceptibility to various kinds of addictions depend. The third trait is extraversion, or sociability, assertiveness. It shows how a person is inclined to communicate with new people, manifest their individuality, and search for adventure. The fourth trait is agreeableness, which allows people to understand how easy or difficult it will be to work together or make friends with a person. Finally, the fifth trait is neuroticism, which allows characterizing a person as calm and confident, or, conversely, anxious, and unstable. Thus, describing a human character using the five traits from the Big Five allows people to form a complete and reliable idea of it.
Different cultures have different attitudes towards each of these five traits. For example, there is a different attitude towards particular virtues in various religions since they are given different meanings. What is normal for Muslims is entirely unacceptable in Buddhism, and vice versa. Undoubtedly, on the one hand, this does not always have a good effect on intercultural interaction. However, on the other hand, there are common human values and moral norms, attitudes towards which converge in different cultures. In particular, I was brought up within the Christian culture, and I can determine how each of these norms affected my development.
Christianity taught me to be an open person: Bible teachings say that people should help one another and stick together. This will help them overcome difficulties with fewer losses and with reliable support. In addition, Christian culture speaks of how beautiful the world is as a creation of God. Therefore, this allows people to be more open to its perception and show interest in everything that happens around.
Christian culture develops a high level of conscientiousness in people. True believers devote time to prayer and are strict adherents of their faith. This develops in them such qualities as organization, loyalty, and dedication. Therefore, other people can rely on them because they are accustomed to choosing individual life attitudes and strictly follow them. In addition, their moral values require them to be firm in their views, which makes them even more reliable people.
Concerning extroversion, it is possible to conclude that the teachings of Christians make them quiet, humble, and reserved people. It is essential for them not to show their character in all possible manifestations. The central role is played by the inner world, full of light and faith. However, despite this, the Christian community is warm and open. These people accept others as they are, which allows them not to feel discomfort when communicating.
Christians are undoubtedly extremely agreeable people. As mentioned earlier, they are always ready to come to the aid of other human beings, since this is the basis of their culture. These people are often quite empathic since they devote themselves to serving other people and God entirely. Thanks to this, they learn to understand others better, become understanding, and feel other people well enough (Intiful et al., 2019). It is rare to find situations when they suspect or criticize someone: they accept people with all their flaws and forgive them.
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As for neuroticism, the bearers of the Christian culture appear to be calm and confident people. Some of them even emanate some inner peace, which allows others to feel safe. This is probably because Christians are sure that they have a reliable support and can always rely on God. It protects them from all adversity; therefore, they do not need to worry and be prone to negative emotions.
While different cultures can vary significantly from one another, traits from the Big Five are quite universal. Hence, for example, the Catholic culture is in many ways similar to the Christian, since they are based on shared religious values. For instance, Catholics, like Christians, are quite open people. They are interested in the world being full of happy and kind people, so they try to bring these qualities to others. Moreover, Catholicism requires the representatives of this culture a high level of conscientiousness, like most religions. Despite God’s all-encompassing love, Catholics must remember and follow the basic principles of faith as true believers.
It can be noted that Catholics are somewhat more extroverted than Christians. In particular, this is due to the fact that they are more actively trying to convey to people the value of their faith. As a result, they communicate more with others, talk more about religion, and make contacts more easily. Catholicism also requires a high level of agreeableness, paying attention to the fact that people are equal before God. For this reason, Catholics also accept others with all their shortcomings and treat people with friendliness and understanding. As for neuroticism, its level among Catholics is also low, since they have a reliable support in the form of God. This allows them to be confident in a positive outcome of any situation and their future.
The described personality traits can be expressed in different ways in the described cultures. Sometimes these manifestations are not noticeable because, for example, many religious people are not inclined to propagate their faith. As a result, they behave quietly and calmly without putting pressure on others. Despite this, it is easy to feel their confidence in their faith, openness, and kindness when communicating with them. This is undoubtedly captivating and makes others want to be like them. However, some manifestations of these religions can be quite vivid, earning the whole world’s respect. There are frequent cases when religious people performed heroic deeds to save other people’s lives or help those in need. This is a manifestation of their conscientiousness – a full understanding of the critical question “who, if not me.” Thanks to this, many people, even without being religious, change their attitudes and understand what they want to be.
Notably, the differences that appear between people under the influence of different cultures and religions are significant. They affect how virtuous, intelligent, kind, open-minded, and confident people are (Shi et al., 2018). It is essential to note that religion is one of the most valuable ways to educate good and kind people. Despite the fact that the issues of faith in the modern world are controversial, the fundamental religious values are suitable for any society segment. They make people highly moral beings, not allowing them to fill the world with evil and hatred. On the contrary, they help people stop violence and abuse, setting an example for those who are their source.
Thus, the environment in which people grow and exist has a considerable impact on forming their personality. The traits that people’s parents, friends, and colleagues possess are passed on to them. This is the development of individual character traits, from which a complete picture of a person is formed. Indeed, certain characteristics described by the Big Five model are universal. Their different manifestations can be found in representatives of different cultures, thereby finding patterns and exploring cultural influence on a person. The culture within which a person exists must have a beneficial effect on him. This will create a society whose members are calm, open, kind, and conscientious. It is much more pleasant and productive to function in such an environment than in a community full of hatred and rejection. That is why the atmosphere around a person plays a crucial role in his or her existence.
Ali, I. (2014). Personality traits, individual innovativeness and satisfaction with life. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 4(1), 38-46).
Intiful, F.D., et al. (2019). Exploring the relationship between the big five personality characteristics and dietary habits among students in a Ghanaian University. BMC Psychology 7, 10. Web.
Shi, J., et al. (2018). The relationship between Big Five personality traits and psychotic experience in a large non-clinical youth sample: The mediating role of emotion regulation. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 648. Web.