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Personality Development and Communication

James B. Weaver, III

Subject Psychology
Communication Studies » Communication Reception and Effects

People Allport, Gordon

Key-Topics personality

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The idea that an individual's personality is “inherently intertwined” with how they communicate has intrigued scholars since the late 1920s ( Daly 2002 ). Indeed, many have observed that through our social interactions we drop clues about the essence of our personality and, in turn, learn about others. Everyday parlance is, in fact, filled with terms and phrases categorizing individuals’ personalities. Across essentially every human culture, for example, colloquial expressions like “He's so quiet,” “She's very assertive and to the point,” and “They just love to talk,” illustrate how attention to communicative perceptions and behaviors punctuates personality discernment in daily life ( Weaver 1998 ). This fundamental link between personality development and communicative perceptions and behaviors was first demonstrated in the pioneering work of Gordon Allport (1937) . Recognizing the unique heuristic value of natural language terms, Allport employed a lexical approach to identify more than 18,000 words that described common personality dispositions or traits. Approximately a quarter of these terms, because they concerned distinctive human behavior (e.g., friendliness, shyness, talkativeness) were deemed particularly important. And, of these, a substantial portion involved some aspect of communicative perceptions and/or behaviors. Reflecting this dispositional foundation, personality ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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