Identity and Personality
The content in this chapter should be relevant to about 7% of all questions about the behavioral sciences on the MCAT.
This chapter covers material from the following AAMC content categories:
7A: Individual influences on behavior
Social psychologists are concerned with how our social lives influence the ways in which we perceive ourselves. Specifically, researchers have focused on the influence that other people’s views, our social roles, and our group memberships have on our perceptions of who we are.
Who are you? If you’re like most people, you could probably answer that question in many different ways. You might list your physical characteristics, your family relationships, your emotional tendencies, or your skills and talents. In fact, many introductory psychology courses include an exercise in which students are asked to make a list of answers to the question Who am I? Completing this list gives each student a glimpse into their identity and personality. These ideas form the core of the study of psychology, in which the central goal is explaining our thoughts and behaviors. In this chapter, we’ll discuss this and review the key theorists and their approaches to answering the question of who we are.