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PSYC 3220 (2)
Chapter

1. Introduction - Evaluating Personality Theories.pdf

6 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 3220
Professor
Pam Broley

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1. Introduction: Evaluating Personality Theories Tuesday, September 10, 2015:41 PM 1. Explain why the term personality is difficult to define. • There is little common agreement among personality theorists on the appropriate use of the term personality • 2. Define the term theory. • A theory is a set of abstract concepts developed about a group of acts or events in order to explain them • A theory of personality, therefore, is an organized system of beliefs that helps us to understand human nature 3. Discuss the role of personality theory in psychology. • Personality is just one area of specialization in modern psychology • Wilhelm Wundt & Freud-- introspective observation • Watson & Skinner-- extrospective observation • Not all of the personality theorists that we will consider agree that a rigorous scientific method is the best way to understand personality • Macro theories of personality seek to be global and which emphasize comprehension of the whole person • Micro theories have resulted from specific research focused on limited aspects of human behavior Textbook Notes Page 1 • 4. Describe three orientations of personality theorists. • Philosophy-- Before the study of personality became a specialization of academic scientific psychology, questions of personality and the good life were generally included under the broader umbrella of philosophy • Science-- As the science of personality theory- investigations governed by appropriate rules- has developed, it has provided us with new knowledge, tools, and methods of self-understanding and improvement • Art-- The art of personality theory, or its expression in practical application, is much older than the science or even the philosophy behind it 5. Identify some of the basic philosophical assumptions on which personality theorists differ. • Freedom versus determinism • Heredity versus environment • Uniqueness versus universality • Proactivity versus reactivity • Optimism versus pessimism 6. Explain how to recognize philosophical assumptions. • Philosophical knowledge is ultimately an epiphany, or a perception of essential meaning • The easiest way to recognize whether specific declarations of a theory function as scientific statements or as philosophical assumptions is to ask what evidence would lead the theorist to change his or her position ○ If empirical evidence does not lead to a revision of the theory you can be pretty sure that the declaration functions as a philosophical assumption 7. Explain how philosophical assumptions are evaluated. • 4 criteria: ○ 1) Coherence ○ 2) Relevance ○ 3) Comprehensiveness ○ 4) Compellingness-- Does the theory convince you? 8. Explain how science has its basis in philosophy. • A paradigm is a model or concept of the world that is shared by the members of a community and that governs their activities • Scientific statements are statements about the world based on empirical observations arising from currently accepted paradigms, and which could also be seen as shared philosophical assumptions 9. Explain the characteristics of scientific statements. • Scientific statements are statements about the world based on empirical observations arising from currently accepted paradigms, and which could also be seen as shared philosophical assumptions • The keystone of science is empirical observation, and the simplest kinds of statements in science are empirical statements, such as "There is a person in the room" • • The keystone of science is empirical observation, and the simplest kinds of statements in science are empirical statements, such as "There is a person in the room." Objective-- the self is looking outward on the world as the object Textbook Notes Page 2
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