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persona


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1 In analytical psychology, the mask or face that a person presents to the world, often derived from a sense of gender identity (as when a woman plays the role of a loyal wife), or a stage of development (a rebellious adolescent), or an occupation (as in a trustworthy doctor), and over the lifespan a person may adopt various different personas derived from archetypes (2). Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) believed that a persona can become pathological if a person identifies too closely with it, causing it to stifle awareness of anything beyond the social role and reducing the person's ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

2 A character in a play or other work of fiction, as in dramatis personae, a list of characters.

3 An assumed identity. personas or personae pl. [From Latin persona an actor's mask]


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