This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Personality types: Indian and western


Savita Deo & Nirmala Kulkarni — Pune University, Pune.

Traits, motives, and cognition are the units of personality which can serve three major functions – to summarize, to predict, and to explain a person’s conduct. In western trait psychology, personality types are described by using three factors, five factors, and sixteen factors mainly. Indian psychology describes personality in terms of the guna theory - sattva, rajas, and tamas - where tamas is at the lower end of guna theory. In Ayurveda, personality is described in terms of tridoshas or the three humors – vata, pitta, and kapha, the most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda. Hence, in the present paper an attempt is made to compare and contrast the description of personality types given in Indian and Western trait psychology. For the Indian description of personality we delimited ourselves to Samkhya and Yoga theories, and the Ayurveda system. An attempt is made to find out whether and to what extent Indian typology regarding personality closely resembles Western trait psychology.

Email the author: "Dr. Ms. Savita Deo" <savita@unipune.ernet.in>