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Chapter 17

Chapter 17: Personality Theory in Perspective

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PSYC 370
Robert Ley

PSYC 370 – Fall 2012 Book Notes: Chapter 17 – Personality Theory in Perspective The Age of Theory Hypothetic-deductive theories: comprising sets of intervening variable (theoretical concepts) that may be linked to observable events, both antecedents and consequents - The Age of theory, declared Koch in a massive study of psychology as a science, is dead - Grand personality theories (and learning theories as well) had failed - Their theoretical concepts were poorly described, not well defined operationally, and not clearly linked to observable - To cope with the difficulty of specifying links to antecedents and consequents, theories were liberalized, loosening and broadening the definitions of concepts - Koch claimed that the liberalization of theory and theoretical concepts was harmful - but there are benefits: o a liberal definition of unconscious processes led to a large amount of research on the cognitive unconscious o bandura’s studies of observational learning without reinforcement grew from liberalized approach to reinforcement and resulted in novel findings and a new social learning theory of personality o because grand theories were no longer strict and uncompromising, the age of their development so the argument went, had come to an end - Theoretical age wasn’t dead. Consider social learning theory, social cognitive theory and the trait theories - turned out that the connection of concepts to antecedent and consequent observables was not such a huge problem Paradigms in Personality: Reprise and Prospects 1. Psychodynamics o among the psychodynamic theories, psychoanalysis and the ego theories (particularly Erikson’s) thrive o the biggest contributions to a workable psychodynamics came from ego psychology, which not only enlightened the concept of the ego but in the process gave an understanding of parental roles, society’s hand in the family and cultures’ prescriptions o present-day psychodynamic theories – modified psychoanalysis, ego psychologies and psychoanalytic derivatives like he theory of object relations – have embraced and thrive on experimental research o psychodynamic paradigm is in the best of health and a significant influence in personality psychology 2. Family, Society, and Culture o Enthusiastic followers and in states that train new practitioners. There is no research base, however to test important hypotheses and lay the basis of theoretical advances 3. Learning theories of personality o With their strong experimental and research tradition, have produced major advances in the study of the person 1 o Have shown the personality community how critical it is to recognize the variability of behavior from situations, and the paradigm in its modern form, expressed in the social cognitive theories, has established cognitive processes as essential to learning and to personality development and adult expression o Radical behaviorist have shown the way to manipulating the environment to produce remarkable changes in behavior 4. Phemomenology and humanism o Have made great contribution to personality psychology in their emphasis on truly listening to people and accepting without question each person’s own experience o - while the heyday of phenomenological research has passed, this paradigm lives on in positive psychology, which emphasizes human possibility and the nurturing of its achievement and its deeply involved in research on how accomplishment and health are attained 5. Existentialism o Not theory but instead a philosophical movement that has become psychological o its message for anxious and desperate people – and for anyone who struggles with the meaning of life – is difficult 6. Traits o Have a ready source of trait terms in the common language and powerful methods to extract the essential traits that define personality o Some disagreement in the paradigm over the number of traits and their description, but the knowledge base from many all-out research programs s increasing at a fast pace 7. Inheritance of behavior o Advanced rapidly o Capitalized on twin and adoption studies, establishing the heritability of major personality
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