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  1. Theodore Millon

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0673

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Millon, T. 2010. Personology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Institute for Advanced Studies in Personology and Psychopathology, Port Jervis, NY

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The word personality is derived from the Latin term persona, originally representing the theatrical mask used by ancient dramatic players. As a mask assumed by an actor, persona suggests a pretense of appearance, that is, the possession of traits other than those that actually characterize the individual behind the mask. In time, the term persona lost its connotation of pretense and illusion and began to represent not the mask, but the real person's observable or explicit features. The third meaning that personality acquired delves beneath the surface impression to turn the spotlight on the inner, less often revealed, and hidden psychological qualities of the individual. Thus, through history, the meaning of the term has shifted from external illusion to surface reality to opaque or veiled inner traits. The fourth conception of personality, which is labeled personology, comes closest to contemporary use. Today, personality is seen as a complex pattern of deeply embedded psychological characteristics that are expressed automatically in almost every area of psychological functioning; that is, personality is viewed as the patterning of unique characteristics that penetrate the entire matrix of the person.


  • personology;
  • evolutionary theory;
  • personalized psychotherapy