I recently finished reading another psychology book I found relevant both to understanding myself better and to creating realistic story characters:
What Your Childhood Memories Say about You (and What You Can Do about It) by Dr. Kevin Leman.
About the Book
The thesis of the book is that our earliest childhood memories reveal more about us than any other question we could ask. Why? The introduction states: “Because those answers provide a priceless glimpse past all the facades and defenses, straight into the core of who a person is.”
Dr. Leman posits that our childhood memories aren’t random, that we remember them for a reason. He says: “Tell me three of your early childhood memories and I’ll tell you what weighs you down and what motivates you forward, what causes you to lose sleep at night with worry and what keeps you up with excitement — in short, what makes you you.” Continue reading
In Profiling Your Characters, part 1 I briefly explained the Five-Factor Personality Model as described in the book “Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality” by Samuel Barondes. Now I want to show how it can be applied to characters in our stories.
Profiling a Personality
An informal assessment of someone’s personality (yourself or someone else) can be done simply by considering the traits listed in my previous post and rating each on a low-medium-high scale. But profiling tools provide a more accurate assessment by asking a series of questions that have been precisely worded, organized and statistically tested to avoid various forms of bias (e.g. some people tend to answer yes too easily, so essentially the same question is typically asked twice with the opposite sense to detect this). Continue reading
mystery (Photo credit: Cult Gigolo)
Here finally is the post I promised when I got back from my trip a few weeks ago…
I’ve had a keen interest in psychology since high school, when I began trying to piece together large blank spots in my memories and figure out what was wrong with me, why I was so weird. So when I saw the Kindle e-book “Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality” (FT Press Science) by Samuel Barondes available free on Amazon back in February I jumped at it!
Of course, it then went on my all-too-long reading pile, and sat largely forgotten. But on my trip I finally got to it, and found it as interesting as I had expected.
The five-factor personality model
Barondes first discusses how we innately evaluate the personalities of others we interact with, and how a lack of training on doing this properly limits us, like trying to do arithmetic without having been taught how. He then argues that some of our biggest mistakes result from this lack of education—choosing badly in our relationships and jobs, how we raise our children. It can cause us to misinterpret the intentions of others, and thus react inappropriately. Continue reading