The role of narrative in personality psychology and functioning
The life of Pi – boy who discovers god three times, pi then lands himself stranded on a
boat with a tiger – book illustrates that tension between narrative truth and historical
truth, distinguishing them and recognizing tension that exists between them, the story
illustrates the profound role of storytelling in human affairs. As people we are historians
and history simultaneously. Book illustrates important role narrative has to play in living
a purposeful life and in psychological functioning and adjustment.
McAdams beliefs that life story approach offers a third tear in our understanding of
persons. First tear is level of personality traits, second is motivational adaptations.
To truly understand a person must move beyond first levels to that of the life story –
where all attributes and dynamics of person are brought into coherence – give us a sense
of unity and purpose that tend to be characteristic of human lives.
Formation of life story – how various elements of life story are acquired as we move from
infancy to adolescence
Dimensions of human existence
Bakn, psychologist who spent most of time at York and wrote about the duality of human
existence. Distinguished between two modalities to human condition. Argued that for all
varieties that make up human existence two themes come out of things human, things
related to agency and communion.
Agency: formation of separations between self and the world, striving that self has to
become increasingly expansive and elevated. Related to dominance, social rank and
Communion refers to things, which have focus on others rather than the self, on the
formation of connections and not separations, and on striving for contact with others.
Thought of as Meta concepts, not limited to one theoretical framework.
Life story becomes primary a problem in adolescence but there are preceding aspects that
emerge earlier in life – early in life tone of one’s life story is believed to be set. Can one
look to the world and assume reliable others will be there to turn to in times of need? Or
is the world an uncertain place? These early experiences of trust and mistrust produce the
strength that Erikson referred to as hope. This early orientation sets the tone for the life
story you will ultimately write, can be optimistic or pessimistic.
By toddler hood and then later early childhood, children come into contact with larger
society, at this age the child is busy acquiring a wide variety of images from family life,