Measuring Personality: Crash Course Psychology #22


Measuring Personality: Crash Course Psychology #22

How would you describe your personality? Maybe
friendly, creative, quirky? What about nervous, or timid, or outgoing? But has anyone ever
called you a sanguine? What about a Kapha, or full of metal? Ancient Greek physician
Hippocrates believed personality manifested itself in four different humors, and, basically,
you are who you are because of your balance of phlegm, blood, and yellow and black bile. According to traditional Chinese medicine,
our personalities depend on the balance of five elements: Earth, Wind, Water, Metal and
Fire. Those who practice traditional Hindu Ayurvedic Medicine view each other as unique
combinations of three different mind-body principles called Doshas. But Sigmund Freud
thought our personalities depended in part on who was winning the battle of urges between
the Id, Ego, and Superego. Meanwhile, humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow suggested that
the key to self-actualization was first successfully climbing a hierarchy of more basic needs.
And then, you’ve got your BuzzFeed quizzes to determine what kind of pirate, or font,
or sandwich, or Harry Potter character you are, but, that, I would never take one of
those seriously. All this is to say that people have been characterizing
one another for a long, long time, and whether you’re into blood, or bile, or ego, or id,
or BLT, or PB&J, there are a lot of ways to describe and measure a personality. And all
these theories, all the years of research, and cigar smoking, and inkblot gazing, and
the fans debating whether they’re more of a Luke or a Leia, they’re all funneling down
to one big central question. Who, or what, is the self? [Intro] Last week we talked about how psychologists
often study personality by examining the differences between characteristics, and by looking at
how these various characteristics combine to create a whole thinking, feeling person.
The early psychoanalytic and humanistic theorists had a lot of ideas about personality, but
some psychologists question their lack of clearly measurable standards. Like, there
was no way to really quantify someone’s inkblot response, or how orally fixated they might
be. So this drive to find a more empirical approach spawned two more popular theories
in the twentieth century, known as the trait and social cognitive perspectives. Instead of focusing on things like lingering
unconscious influences or missed growth opportunities, trait theory researchers look to define personality
through stable and lasting behavior patterns and conscious motivations. Legend has it that it all began in 1919, when
young American psychologist Gordon Allport paid a visit to none other than Freud himself.
Allport was telling Freud about his journey there on the train, and how there was this
little boy who was obsessed with staying clean and didn’t want to sit next to anyone or touch
anything. Allport wondered if the boy’s mother had a kind of dirt phobia that had rubbed
off on him. So yadda yadda yadda, he’s telling his tale, and at the end of it Freud looks
at him and says, “Mhmm.. Was that little boy you?” Allport was basically like, “No, man,
that was just some kid on the train. Don’t try to make this into some big unconscious
episode from my repressed childhood”. Allport thought Freud was digging a little
too deep, and that sometimes you just need to look at motives in the present, not the
past, to describe behavior. So Allport started his own club, describing personality in terms
of fundamental traits, or characteristic behaviors and conscious motives. He wasn’t so much interested
in explaining traits as he was in describing them. Modern trait researchers like Robert
McCrae and Paul Costa have since organized our fundamental characteristics into what’s
casually known as The Big Five: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness,
and neuroticism, which you can remember using the mnemonic OCEAN, or CANOE, whichever one
you prefer. Each of these traits exist on a spectrum, so, for example, your level of
openness can range, on one end, from being totally open to new things and variety, or
wanting strict, regular routine on the other end. Your degree of conscientiousness can
translate into being impulsive and careless, or careful and disciplined. Someone high on
the extroversion end will be sociable, while those on the low end will be shy and reserved.
A very agreeable person, meanwhile, is helpful and trusting, while someone at the opposite
end may be suspicious or uncooperative. And finally, on the neuroticism spectrum, an emotionally
stable person will be calm and secure, while a less stable person is often anxious, insecure,
and self-pitying. The important idea here is that these traits
are hypothesized to predict behavior and attitude. Like an introvert might prefer communicating
through e-mail more than an extrovert, and an agreeable person is much more likely to
help their neighbor move that couch than a suspicious one who’s just glaring through
the window. By adulthood, trait theorists will tell you these characteristics are pretty
stable, but it isn’t to say that they can’t flex a little in different situations. Like
that same shy person might end up singing Elvis karaoke in a room full of people under
the right conditions. So our personality traits are better at predicting our average behavior
that what we’d do in any specific situation, and research indicates that some traits, like
neuroticism, seem to be better predictors of behavior than others. This flexibility that we all seem to have
leads to the fourth major theory on personality, the social cognitive perspective. Originally
proposed by our Bobo-beating friend Alfred Bandura, the social cognitive school emphasizes
the interaction between our traits and their social context. Bandura noted that we learn
a lot of our behavior by watching and imitating others. That’s the social part of the equation.
But we also think a lot about how these social interactions affect our behavior, which is
the cognitive part. So, in this way, people and their situations basically work together
to create behavior. Bandura referred to this sort of interplay as reciprocal determinism.
Meaning, that for example, the kind of books you read or music you listen to or friends
you hang out with say something about your personality, because different people choose
to be in different environments, and then those environments in turn continue to reinforce
our personalities. So if Bernice has a kind of anxious-suspicious
personality, and she has a serious, titanic crush on Sherlock Holmes, she might be extra
attuned to potentially dangerous or fishy situations. But the more she sees the world
in that way, the more anxious and suspicious she gets. In this way, we’re both the creators
and the products of the situations we surround ourselves with. That’s why one of the key indicators of personality
in this school of thought has to do with our sense of personal control — that is, the
extent to which you perceive that you have control over your environment. Someone who
believes that they control their own fate, or make their own luck, is said to have an
internal locus of control, while those who feel like they’re just guided by forces beyond
their control are said to have an external locus. Now whether we’re talking about control
versus helplessness, introversion versus extroversion, calm versus anxious, or whatever, each of
these different personality perspectives have their own methods of testing and measuring
personality. We’ve talked before about how the psychoanalyst super-hunk Hermann Rorschach
used his inkblot test to infer information about a person’s personality; we know that
Freud used dream analysis, and both he and Young were both fans of free association,
but the broader school of theorists, now known as the psycho-dynamic camp that descended
from Freud and pals, also use other projective psychological tests, including the famous
thematic apperception test. In this kind of test, you’d be presented with
evocative but ambiguous pictures, and then asked to provide information about them. You
might be asked to tell a story about the scenes, considering things like how are the characters
feeling, or what’s going on, or what happened before this event and what will happen after.
Like check it out, is the woman crying because her brother just died, or from a bee sting?
Or is she a maid laughing because some royal just passed out drunk on his bed, or perhaps
the object of her long-burning affection has just confessed his love in a fever haze all
Jane Austen-style and she’s having a mini-breakdown in the hall?! The idea is that your responses
will reveal something about your concerns and motivations in real life, or how you see
the world, or about your unconscious processes that drive you. By contrast with that approach, though, modern
trait personality researchers believe that you can assess personality traits by having
people answer a series of test questions. There are lots of so-called personality trait
inventories out there. Some provide a quick reading on a particular enduring trait, like
anxiety or self-esteem, while other gauge a wide range of traits, like our friends The
Big Five. These tests, like the Myers-Briggs, which you might have heard of, involve long
questionnaires of true-false or agree-disagree questions like, “Do you enjoy being the center
of attention?”, “Do you find it easy to empathize with others?”, or “Do you value justice over
mercy?” But the classic Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is probably the most
widely used personality test. The most recent version asks a series of five hundred and
sixty-seven true-false questions, varying from “No one seems to understand me” to “I
like mechanics magazines” to “I loved my father”, and is often used to identify emotional disorders. Then there’s how Bandura’s social cognitive
camp sizes you up. Because this school of thought emphasizes the interaction of environment
and behavior rather than just traits alone, they aren’t solely into questions and answers.
Instead, they might measure personality in different contexts, understanding behavior
in one situation is best predicted by how you acted in a similar situation. Like, if
Bernice freaked out and tried to hide under the bed during the last five thunderstorms,
we can predict that she will do that again next time. And if we conducted a controlled
lab experiment where we, say, we looked at the effects of thunderstorm noises on people’s
behavior, we might get an even better sense of what baseline psychological factors could
best predict storm-induced freak-outs. And finally, there are the Humanistic theorists
like Maslow. They often reject standardized assessments altogether. Instead, they tend
to measure your self-concept through therapy, interviews, and questionnaires that ask subjects
to describe both how they would ideally like to be and how they actually are. The idea
is that the closer the actual and ideal are, the more positive the subject’s sense of self. Which brings us back to that biggest motherlode
question of them all: Who, or what, is the self? All the books out there about self-esteem,
self-help, self-awareness, self-control, and so on are built upon one assumption: that
the self is the organizer of our thoughts and feelings and actions: essentially the
center of a personality. But of course, it’s a sticky issue. One way to think about self
is through the concept of possible selves, like your ideal self, perhaps devastatingly
attractive and intelligent, successful, and well-loved, as well as your most feared self,
the one who could end up unemployed and lonely and rundown. This balance of potential best
and worst selves motivates us through life. In the end, once you factor in environment
and childhood experiences, culture and all that mess, not to mention biology which we
haven’t even touched on today, can we really firmly define self? Or answer certainly that
we even have one? That, my friend, is one of life’s biggest questions, and so far it
has yet to be universally answered. But you learned a lot anyway today, right?
As we talked about the trait and social cognitive perspectives, and also about different ways
these schools and others measure and test personality. We also talked about what self
is, and how our self-esteem works. Thanks for watching, especially to our Subbable subscribers
who make Crash Course possible. To find out how you can become a supporter, just go to This episode was written by Kathleen Yale, edited by Blake
de Pastino, and our consultant is Dr. Ranji Bhagwat. Our director and editor is Nicholas
Jenkins, and the script supervisor is Michael Aranda, who is also our sound designer, and
the graphics team is Thought Cafe.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “Measuring Personality: Crash Course Psychology #22”


    shouldve delved deeper into it

  2. soccerhighlight1 says:

    0.75 speed works much better

  3. Kat Hiersche says:

    I was the Prisoner, then I changed a single answer from "no I don't like pirates" to "yes I do" now I'm the which/ wizard!

  4. Len Schiff says:

    I gotta say Hank, My office is pretty tidy.

  5. dez w. says:

    orange is the new black characters lol

  6. R1CKST3R77 says:

    Literally watching this 2 hours before my ap exam

  7. Bha Ratha says:

    Indian system actually describes personlity types based on Gunas of natural disposition, 3 types Sattva ( Bright, Intelligent & Refined ), Rajas ( Aggresive, Agitated & burning passion ) Tamas ( Inertia, sloth & darkness )

    This is refered across the systems of Samkhya, Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda… while Doshas are particularly Ayurvedic. Samkhya & Baghavadgita has elaborate explaination on the same. Right down to every matter in the world has a predominant disposition of either of 3 gunas while the other two are dormant so to say?

    Presetly I am Tamasic with chronic depression, sloth, despair, ignorance & apathy.. if I were an entrepreur like or a professional boxer I'd be Rajasic or If I were learned & were a research student or a professor I'd be Sattvic while it is only predmoninance of one Guna.

  8. Caro R says:

    Hello 👋🏽 question, the fact that I have the ESFJ kind of personality makes me more susceptible to have body dysmorphia?

  9. hussain affan says:

    Are you a rapper?? :p then y dont speak with certain speed which sounds more graceful

  10. Moustapha Muhammad says:

    OH my gosh you're so fast in talking!

  11. qtpie h03 says:

    what's wrong with arabic subs ??

  12. Anand Rai says:

    Albert Bandura*

  13. WendyMarie R says:

    This video sparked my need to know more on how the personality is affected by long term exposure to poverty. I feel like I'd be a completely different person if I lived comfortably, not having to deal with the constant social pressures, the hopelessness, feelings of inadequacy, the shame, regret, and self hatred.

  14. Nanyi Mateo says:

    I don't think personality can be classified or have a specific type. I think it is more like an spectrum or a tendency to certain behaviours and thoughts than others which can combine in infinite ways. Human behaviour is fully unpredictable yet can be very well understood and described under certain circumstances.

  15. 花花 says:

    ok, but that allport + freud interaction is very funny.

  16. 花花 says:

    raven!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  17. Beata Zalewska says:

    Play him on 0.75 speed, he starts to sound like a normal human being

  18. Ella says:

    inhales aggressively
    exhales obsessively

  19. VeryNiceu says:

    Okay but why was princess bubblegum the “ideal self” illustration? Lol

  20. 15SecNut says:

    "…or how orally fixated they might be"

    takes pen out of mouth

  21. Marianne Yang says:

    any enneagram lovers here?

  22. Liuba Svatko says:

    The most important question is ENVIRONMENTS to reveal personality of a certain human. Environment includes people. Without this important aspect there is no point to talk about the personality traits. You will never behave and show your certain persona to your father or mather the same as you are showing it to your best friend or a partner or a coworker or your child. There are some people that can identify hundred personas inside oneself depending on the context of the situation one or a few of them activate or just around 3 personalities for any area of life. I learned about it in NLP classes and it blew my mind. How many personalities can you find in yourself?

  23. Daniel Benyamin Ingold says:

    The brain at the beginning looks like a butt

  24. Grace Haven says:

    My ideal self is princess bubblegum?

  25. Aracely Lopez says:

    I’m very much a Humanistic-Existential psychologist, but also very much love objective assessment measures. The key is to reach conclusions based on ALL the information gathered. In this manner they compliment each other & refine our conclusions.

  26. frances marie says:

    can you speak slower jesus

  27. Shalisa .Cordilia says:

    We're both the creators and the products, of the situations we surround ourselves with

  28. KristinChronicles says:

    I love the Internal Family Systems therapy model that describes self with 8 C's: curiousity, compassion, calm, clarity, creativity, courage, connectedness, & confidence. I have dissociative identity disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) & have been on an epic journey of redefining who "I" am!

    LOVE your videos!!!!! HUGE HELP along this healing journey!!!! THANK YOU for all you do!!!!!

    in Light & Love,

  29. Rajnandini Rathod says:

    Great video. This is the best way of studying. So creative! <3

  30. Da Jew says:

    In the end of the day, people like catagorising or labeling themselves

  31. Kershen Govender says:

    Leave Bernice alone.

  32. James Mac777 says:

    Sigmund Freud practiced some magic, sure your personality formed at childhood could find a neat freak child on a passenger train, but that is still a separate person: The accusation being made is there is no external known reality that was not modeled in the mind, as if the child is literally invisible when it is not your personality. This would mean that the TSA literally could not see arms in the full body scanners, if they did not believe in them or never owned any arms, but mysteriously notice every dildo that the women are sneaking in for a long flight, as that is a personal experience. What I find disturbing about the TSA is a jar of peanut butter is described as a poisoned weapon when they find it, and how did they model that view from personal experience?

  33. James Mac777 says:

    Self is defined by the Jungian shadow of the mind as much as the welcome archetype traits. Without the shadow (Superman's kryptonite that keeps him from being super), then we define nothing, where every person needs a competent Darth Vader in order to offset Obi-wan Kenobi —— who becomes the tyrant when without an opponent to define virtue. I saw this in the Bible, the Old Testament defines the Jews as a series of corrupt kings and corrupt laws, until they are a completely mistrustful group and defined as a tribe that would rather practice incest than give anything of their community to a hostile government that is expected to practice a pogrom against them. The Jewish shadow is the corruption of the kings, gods, taxes, and laws, and this defines the Jewish ideal more than anything else. I have seen people claim God is evil for creating evil, but we cannot have Batman without the Joker, we cannot have Superman without Lex Luthor having kryptonite, and we cannot have Heaven without Hell and its devil, because we cannot have virtue without its evil end.

  34. Tharsika Rajah says:

    Your voice or the way you speak sounds really annoying, please fix

  35. Emiko Kokoro says:


    Because I am an anxious, skeptical person and have a titanic crush on Sherlock Holmes

  36. Billy Green says:

    Is there a story behind the angler fish?

  37. Josh Levan says:

    I'm very surprised in the lack of emphasis on Carl Jung and MBTI

  38. Emirhan Caner says:

    Just to clarify what you mistakenly said Hank, being low in extraversion has nothing to do with being shy 🙂

  39. Jacob Campbell says:

    Self is the illusion that one is separate from their environment.

    But that's, just like, my opinion, man.

  40. navotera says:

    Why u talk do fast?

  41. Sarah Jangard says:

    stomach growls why isn't appetite part of my personality ?

  42. Hannah Kayisinga says:

    I am literally Bernice. I have a huge crush on Sherlock Holmes

  43. Kraßton bel Lässarzu says:

    I can't say I looked at it that way who is self, but that's not a unusual question.

  44. Cheryl Graham says:

    I like you so much. What an awesome channel💛👍☀️

  45. Wild Heart - Tribute To Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood M says:

    good grief… is that a cup of coffee being poured in the very background? lol…

  46. Ethan Andrews says:

    So are we jus gonna ignore 0:03 them calling Kodak Black "Quirky" this is 100 percent a sneak diss.

  47. Noodle Dude says:

    This not only got me through AP Psychology in high school but also my psych 101 class in college and will probably help me in getting my degree! Thank you Hank

  48. sasha dias says:

    i love this guy he speaks and teaches in a way i love

  49. Jae Flame says:

    You guys should do crash course … Women

  50. Taquinqua says:

    I like your videos and they’re helpful! Unfortunately, the sound effects you use frequently are very distracting for me for some reason and make it hard to pay attention. I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem or what it’s about

  51. richa sharma says:


  52. FUN COVERS says:

    7:16 Dude Relax!!!

  53. Kristina Cvetković says:

    Man take it easy,you speak so fast,i can't even understand what are u talking about,think about fact that your audience isn't just Americans. By the way,love stuff you guys do for us 😀

  54. Imad charradi says:


  55. Austin A Liboiron says:

    These two videos covered literally everything in a full lecture section of my psych class, lol. Thank you.

  56. ranjini menon says:


  57. Mike Hardie says:

    7:07 wouldn't the colours influence how you feel about certain images?

    I know that's a fairly standard trick visual artists use in their work to evoke a feeling of mood.

  58. Nate Lang says:

    theory = educated guess, most of them are wrong one is right or we don't know the right answer yet.

  59. Ekeisha E says:

    Just when I think I know the answers new complex fitting ideas are grasped from this I shall now add to my essay 🙇🏽‍♀️

  60. Kennedy P says:

    If he only talked faster this would have been a total waste. Good info presented very poorly.

  61. عادل أبو عمر says:

    – نضج
    – ثم ادراك متغيرات كثيرة لكل حالة.

    – وهذا بدورهِ يجعل لكل شخص استجابة معينة لبعض المتغيرات لأي حالة دون بعض بالرغم من أنه يعرف كثير من المتغيرات ولكن الذي جعله يركز على هذه المتغيرات فقط في هذه الحالة هو شخصيته الخاصة بناءً على عصبة الإدراك الجمعي

    – وإن حدث شيء له علاقة بالبيئة فندرس البيئة التي أثرت في السلوك بناءً على العوامل النفسية الأساسية حتى نعرف ونتوقع مالسبب الذي جعل هناك مشكلة من تفاعل البيئة مع التصرف الغريب هذا بشكل دقيق

  62. apoemandapicture says:

    9:46 Wait did they always use the Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time as a mini reference/ joke?

  63. Jake L says:

    my ego is out of control
    i'm afraid what my superego might be like

  64. Rahul Mawa says:


  65. How life Works says:

    i think justice is part of mercy

  66. How life Works says:

    dude this series is addictive i just watched 4 vids in a row of this channel , good work

  67. rakzr says:

    Too much info too short time. Went like a bullet.

  68. yugendra uppalapati says:


  69. bigbad123321 says:

    Myres Briggs is the best tool to use I've found 👍

  70. Amaka Studio says:

    Ok but these videos saved my last minute revision for my psychology exam

  71. Froehlig Girlz says:


  72. SUDHIR PATEL says:

    Is she crying because her father died, or because she is trying to justify why her father left her so much money. She played the game so very well for six months that she got it all. You however who took care of him for 31 years got little. Damn psychology.


    Is ugly a personality

  74. Em_Izzy says:

    his ideal self is princess bubblegum…

  75. Norm De Plume says:

    Read a book called The Mind is Flat. It will explain how and why there is no unconscious mind, nothing below the current thinking you are doing as you read this. There is no Freudian Id, Ego or even "me". You basically construct yourself in the moment. Then this video will need to be updated!

  76. Quỳnh Anh Bùi says:

    I am a PB&J.
    a Pam Beesly and Jim

  77. Ella McCarthy says:

    Not to be controversial, but I would trust Hank Green with my life.

  78. everything for 21st century says:

    What is conscious motivation

  79. 章魚燒武士 says:

    Me: I was watching Crash Course and I realized that Freud is sometimes crazy
    Freud: So are you talking about your childhood?

  80. Chukwuka 419 says:

    I thought this man was rapping

  81. Christopher Morante says:

    God bless CrashCourse.

  82. Benjamin Schuhle says:

    that's totally kodak black at 0:04… and yeah I'd say he fits under the quirky definition

  83. Izling says:

    Who’s here for the test tomm 😭

  84. darian burns says:

    Thank you crash course for everything you do for me and my finals. <3

  85. Rutvik makwana says:

    Please speak slowly

  86. deeksha sinha says:

    dont you breathe?

  87. Anirudh Gupta says:

    example of neurotic anchor

  88. Samantha Clark says:

    There’s a GLARING missed pun in here.

    “Using OCEAN or CANOE to remember..whichever one you want” should’ve been

    “Using OCEAN or CANOE to remember..whichever floats your boat” 😂😂😂😂

  89. Master Pieces says:

    My mind just blew up from all that information. Yeah, I subscribed. Coz I love torturing myself.

  90. Sondra Blaschko says:

    Princess bubble gum, is that you?

  91. alba montoya baena says:

    When I was younger (from 5 to 14) i used to be shy, introversal and really quiet. Then at the age of 14/15 I got a brain demage con the right part, since then I'm right the opposite: w is that?

  92. Ayezak says:

    *Conscientiousness* 20% left – 80% right
    *agreeableness* 35% left – 65% right
    *Neuroticism* 90% left – 10%right
    *openess* 50/50
    *extraversion* 85% left – 15% right

  93. Halimkhan halimkhan says:

    We r both creators Nd the products of the situations we surround ourselves with

  94. Odin's Eye says:

    Great intro… I am into BBW, what does that say about me?

  95. HiYasu says:

    The self is an illusion within consciousness

  96. alex hood says:

    What about fnaf personality quiz?

  97. Tuomas Kivistö says:

    Freud based af

  98. Muñi Conejito says:

    Omggggg that OITNB reference was ALL 💛💛💛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *