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Publisher's Summary

To understand the roots of personality is to understand motivations and influences that shape behavior, which in turn reflect how you deal with the opportunities and challenges of everyday life. That's the focus of these exciting 24 lectures, in which you examine the differences in people's personalities, where these differences come from, and how they shape our lives.

Drawing on information gleaned from psychology, neuroscience, and genetics, Professor Leary opens the door to understanding how personality works and why. Throughout his illuminating lectures, five important personality traits come into focus, traits that form the foundation of how psychologists approach the topic of personality: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness.

Combining psychology with neuroscience and behavioral genetics, this exploration will open your eyes to the myriad ways our traits, motives, emotions, beliefs, and values are shaped by things like our genes, environment, experiences, and evolutionary history. Why is it so hard to change our behavior? Why do people develop different values and morals? Does personality change as we age? Is personality passed down through genes?

Designed as a fascinating, accessible scientific inquiry, these lectures will have you thinking about personality in a way that enriches your understanding of the complex psychological processes that make you who you are.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2018 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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One of the Best in the Great Courses Library

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Along with "Nutrition Made Clear" and "Customs of the World," this is one of the three best courses I have taken on TGC. As is the case with the former two courses, "Why You are Who You Are" provides with you with detailed, evidence-based information about a topic that pervades everyday life but for which general information and everyday knowledge is, at best, unreliable. This course definitely helps you to understand the world around you far better, both in an academic and practical sense. Dr. Leary is an excellent presenter as well.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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One of the better Psych series

This is one of the better psychology oriented THC courses I’ve heard. The speaker grows they the big five trainers and then goes thru how those trainers display themselves in different social settings: leadership, attachment, authority, etc. The lecture on personality disorders was also particularly interesting.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Highly informative - thought provoking insights

Dr. Leary outlines scholarly approaches to human personality in an easy to engage with manner. What could be more complex than human behavior, and yet he offers the foundation concepts in ways that I could understand without any real background in modern psychology. When I consider courses like this I often have a couple of concerns: 1) will the material be too watered down i.e., lack the intellectual substance to be useful, or 2) will the lecturer get into too much detail about their favorite studies, or use too much lab jargon and acronyms at the expense of clear insights. This course has plenty of substance, just the right amount of study summaries to sustain credibility, and the jargon is well explained but not over explained. Finally, the material is presented in a way that I could retain most of the concepts. I have already shared a number of insights with friends and family. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in investigating the dynamics of personality, or looking for more insight into their own behavior.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A great course

This is a great course; I absolutely loved it. I Learned a great deal from it; I recommend it highly to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Nothing about “why”

This book is about tools for measurement of human behavior. Not a bad one at that, but nothing about explaining why the behaviors occur. Read “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky, Instead.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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As an addict, I listened to this book. Very Helpfu

I've struggled with meth addiction for nearly 13 years and have sought so many ways to kick my habbit. I wasn't a daily user but once a month, I'd go on a binge. it affected my family, work, and myself. After listening to this book twice, it helped me understand more how some personality types are more prone to drug abuse. Many of the categorically specific traits, habits, and inclinations hit home for me and I did an aweful lot of self reflecting - Trying to unburry the true me who got lost. thanks for the awesome book. I hope next time you can do something specific for substance abuse. We're out here looking for hope.

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Definitely helpful for understanding and developing well being

It’s great to have models being laid out to help with understanding. The research data details makes it especially helpful. Thank you
so much for taking the time to develop this course.

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Excellent! brilliant and very comprehensive

Excellent course. I feel I now better understand myself and my loved ones. Highly recommended.

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Good for those without an advanced degree

this is a great book for those without an advanced degree. for me it was a nice refresher of my undergraduate teachings, but much of it was boring in the sense that it is a whole lot of what I already know.

4 of 12 people found this review helpful

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a little too liberal biassed

inconsistent logic in a secular perspective trying desperately to quantify the unquantifiable and still somehow show how liberal perspectives are superior.

5 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-15-18

buy is now

100% recommend if anyone is interested in psychology. The narration is fantastic and highly addictive. This is one of the best courses I have listened to so far.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alice ciccone
  • 05-02-18

A serie of very interesting lectures

Interesting insights into people behavior. This is a collection of kind of separate lectures. Only in the end of it there is a link between the different things one learn. It is a bit hard to remember and one should listen multiple times.

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  • Sandra Brunet
  • 04-24-18

Great content, simply explained

This is my second audio book narrated by Prof. Mark Leary. Some great insights helping to understand why we behave the way we do, explained in a simple and easy to understand way. Thank you.

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  • Jakub
  • 04-24-18

Absolutely brilliant!

The voice acting is perfect and keeps the listener well engaged. Comprehensive coverage of the topic. A must read for everyone.

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  • Tomé
  • 04-16-18

Great Overview

Going to give it a second listen for sure. Would have liked more info on the therapies that are available.

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  • Bee
  • 02-26-18

interesting up to a point

Didn't tell me anything I didn't know really but an easy listen. Really wanted to know more about the origins and treatment of personality disorders.

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  • Sebastian Meiser
  • 03-12-18

So far not impressed

I'm not done with the course yet, but so far I find it difficult to listen to the lectures. They are extremely slow paced, individual points are repeated many times in a row and often the reasoning is unclear to me.

I've learned the "big 5" personality traits in many, many words (2 full lectures for listing 5 simple concepts), but in fact they seem to just be an abstraction that mixes large groups of what I'd have considered "actual personality traits" together with factors of the environment, the personal life and current state of the mind of people. Why are they "personality traits"? No idea. How does grouping a lot of factors into "agreeableness" help me understand people? Unclear. Instead I learn that 5*5*5*5*5 is a large number, but I think I knew that already.

In a later lecture I'm presented with seemingly unfounded reasoning as for why a certain internal motivation, e.g., for limiting cognitive dissonance, couldn't have developed, followed by an explanation for exactly why it could have developed: social benefits of consistent behaviour. The actual point (external vs. internal definition) is not clearly motivated and actual evidence only presented as a side note.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Angelina
  • 04-25-18

Well worth taking the course if you’re interested in understanding the differences in personality

This is a great course that I will be listening to again for the insight it gives for understanding the self and others.