Exploring the universality of personality judgments: Evidence from the Great Transformation (1000 BCE – 200 BCE)
We examined whether personality judgments were present in texts of the diverse religious and philosophical traditions that emerged during the Great Transformation, an era spanning roughly 1000 BCE to 200 BCE. Some psychologists have suggested that the tendency of humans to judge personality has evolved; if some ancient societies failed to record personality judgments, it would be evidence against such an evolutionary position. In addition, learning about the prevalence and specifics of ancient personality judgments can help psychologists better understand the prehistory of personality psychology. Eight cultural traditions were studied: two each from China (Confucianism, Taoism), Greece (Classical and Hellenistic philosophy), India (Buddhism, Hinduism), and the Middle East (Judaism, Zoroastrianism). We found evidence that personality judgments were an important aspect of all of these traditions. Not only did people judge one another, but they also offered instructions on how to judge others.
Review of General Psychology
American Psychological Association (APA)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mayer, J. D., Lin, S. C., & Korogodsky, M. (2011). Exploring the universality of personality judgments: Evidence from the Great Transformation (1000 BCE – 200 BCE). Review of General Psychology, 15, 65-76.