To talk about our identity, first we try to answer the question, "Who am I?" We have different kinds of identity: national identity, social identity, cultural/racial identity, class identity, familial identity, gender identity, sexual identity, etc. All these identities are formed beyond our control or to say at least partly. This explains why some theories say that we have multiple identities and that our identity is departed. Out of all of these inter-related kinds of identity we form our personal identity.
Identity may be contrasted with the notion of self. In psychology, a psychological identity relates to self-image (a person's model of him or herself), self-esteem, and individuation. An important part of identity in psychology is gender identity, as this dictates to a significant degree how an individual views him or herself both as a person and in relation to other people. In cognitive psychology, the term "identity" refers to the capacity for self-reflection and the awareness of self.
In philosophy, identity, also called sameness, is whatever makes an entity definable and recognizable. Or, in layman's terms, identity is whatever makes something the same or different. This includes operational definition that either yields a yes or no value for whether a thing is present in a field of observation, or that distinguishes the thing from its background, allowing one to determine what is and what is not included in it. Also see pattern recognition. Usually we loudly pronounce a certain kind of identity unless it is strongly related to our beliefs.
Sociology places some explanatory weight on the concept of role-behavior. The notion of identity negotiation may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience. Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity.
Psychologists most commonly use the term "identity" to describe personal identity, or the idiosyncratic...