In terms of the psychology aspect of the topic, one of the more fundamental traits of theories of personality is the realisation and enactment of central traits. Galen was the first person to examine the issue of personality and the way in which it is formed and according to him the individual was made up of four different chambers and the extent to which these chambers interacted with one another represented the way in which the individual’s personality was formed.
The theory now reads that people cannot be put into discrete categories that they neatly fall into and instead everybody has some traits and the personality is made up of the degree to which those traits are exposed. What has been noted is that people react differently in different types of situations, so where in one types of situation you have a particular trait in any other situation, another trait becomes more expressive and dominant and as a result your perceived personality changes.
Identification of Personality Traits
There have been a number of theories of the identification of personality traits one of which was Allport’s Search for Traits where essentially Allport found people with a particular trait react similarly across situations because they experience a unique sense of similarity across those situations that guides their feelings, behaviours and thoughts. It is interesting when you relate this to the web and our usage of the web. With the web our ability to interact with people like minded with us has increased; you can now find those people that you share things in common with that you could not have found pre the web. The fact that the web gives us so much more choice just in the field of say entertainment alone is example of this.
In this sense the identification and deployment of personality trait can be far greater than it has in the past with us being able to find people in more ways tan previously and as a result the ability to build relations with others is far greater on the web than it can be otherwise.
Another aspect that he highlighted were cardinal traits; those traits that experienced a strong unifying influence on a person’s behaviour. He believed that these traits were rare in people but that when they did appear that these would help to get the person and have them stand out of the crowd, for example Hitler. If you relate this to the Web it is interesting because in theory the web seems to provide individuals with greater ability to take heed of their wants and wishes and that as a result. In theory therefore what we should expect is more people expressing their cardinal traits and standing out from the crowd. By proxy however it could also be suggested that with more people being out in the public domain and being visible to others that you will not stand out from the crowd. The fact that the web allows everyone to be able to express themselves and broadcast themselves would suggest that actually people would not be able to stand out in the way that they do otherwise.
Eysenck 3 Factors
Eysenck highlighted three factors that he felt were the key in developing the person; extroversion, neurotisicism and psychoticism. He argued that in general a person’s personality in determined by these 3 factors and the way in which they interact with each other in the same way that a combination of the three primary colours leads to the creation of any other colours.
The 5 Factor Model
This model presupposes that the personality is composed of five areas: neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. A body of evidence suggests that there is a high degree of heritability in respect of the five factors involved. DeNeve and Cooper showed that the five factors could be used to predict subjective well being in a person’s personality and Vollrath found that there was moderate predictability to responses to daily hassles of people’s lives.
It is interesting when you see these five factors and the way in which they interact with one another and the way in which when you are on the web, you can be a different person and as a result your level of openness and agreeableness for sure can be determined by what you want.
In respect of the sociological research one of the more interesting things that I have found has been the theory of symbolic interactionism with Goffmann going against this and suggesting that our lives are made up of ‘performances’; we put on a performance with different roles when we are put in front of audiences when in different occasions. He highlighted that there was a difference between the backstage area (where nobody gets to see) and the performance area.
I would suggest that actually the web allows for amore interesting way to see this differentiation. The screen is almost that boundary or performance stage behind which you are in the prepatory area with the screen being the stage on which you perform. In turn the greater exposure allows you to carry out your performance to a greater number of persons than before because of its wider reach and therefore you have to playa a lot more persons.
He highlighted that there was a key difference in the performance that you give in real life and that on the stage; in the latter every word has to be perfect where as in the former you can allow for mistakes because interruptions re a part of everyday life. However on the web, this might seem at slight odds because as it might be seen a prepatory area it is not expected that everything that you do is flawless and perfect.