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Professor gives personality presentation

Professor gives personality presentation

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Lycoming College psychology professor Dr. Kathryn M. Ryan presented It’s Just Personality, a talk on personality traits, on Wednesday, April 3 in the College library archives. The presentation was given to the local chapter of the National Organization for Women as well as students, faculty, staff and the public.

During her presentation, Ryan discussed her 2011-12 sabbatical research on contemporary personality theory and research. Her talk incorporated the history of research and the importance of psychometrics – or reliability and validity – to the field of personality theory. Her talk focused on three specific traits: superconfident, frequently anxious and outgoing personalities, of which she drew character sketches for her audience.

The talk also included the announcement of the book she is writing based on her research and these three personality traits. Ryan stated that personality is a growing area of research and psychology is now focusing more on “abnormal” and “brain” psychology, where she would like to focus on the normal, individual differences that create a unique personality.

“Personality traits are influenced by learning and experience, as well as temperament,” Ryan said. “Many traits also change over time. I believe that people could get along better if they understood their own and others’ personalities. I am writing the book because books in the popular press are not representative of the field.”

Ryan, also a professor of women’s and gender studies, earned her Ph.D. in personality and social psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Much of her research has focused on relationships and aggression, including a focus on sexual and physical aggression, playful aggression and how people define relationship violence. She is a board member of the Eastern Colleges Science Conference.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit

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