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Personality psychology is one of the basic subjects in psychology along with biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology and clinical psychology. There is some overlap between these basic subjects: one can study personality as a contradiction to social psychology, but one can evaluate the relevance of personality within clinical issues, one can study personality development, how biopsychological factors are associated with individual differences and how differences in cognitive processes can be are expressed as differences in personality.
At the same time, personality psychology is part of the study of human psychological individual differences. This category also includes areas such as research on intelligence or ability differences, studies of differences in mental disorders and behavioral genetics. These areas are also somewhat overlapping: there is a link between the trait of neuroticism and mental disorders, there are associations between the trait of openness and intelligence, and the study of how genetic variance provides variance in personality-relevant phenotypes in behavioral genetics.
Personality psychology has three goals: 1) to specify and understand what the relevant components of personality are and how they are developed or maintained, 2) to measure these relevant components in a scientific way, and 3) to predict differences in future behavior based on personality goals.
The personality psychology thus studies human personality. Personality can be defined in many different ways, but most definitions specify that personality is the relatively stable difference between individuals across situations in their behaviors, emotions and thoughts.
Personality psychology was established as a field in the 1930s in the United States through the work of, among others, Gordon W. Allport and Henry A. Murray. Today, there are a large number of personality theories, which provide different descriptions of personality development, and what different personality structures exist and how relevant personality processes work. Theories also vary in how much they emphasize stability or ability to change. Most modern textbooks will describe psychodynamic (Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Erik H. Erikson, Heinz Kohut,William Stern), Humanistic / Existential (Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers), and Cognitive and Social Learning Theory (Albert Bandura, Walter Mischel). Historically, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approaches have been particularly influential (including psychoanalytic theory, egopsychology, self- psychology, and object relationship theory).
The dominant approach in modern empirical personality psychology research and applied personality psychology is the theory of traits (Raymond B. Cattell, Hans J. Eysenck, Paul T. Costa, Robert R. McCrae), and especially five-factor theory. Within this direction, one has an empirical basis for describing human differences in personality with the five-factor model. Here it is assumed that we have different degrees of five different personality traits: openness to new experiences, planning, extroversion, socializing and neuroticism. These traits are most accurately measured scientifically with the personality testNEO-PI-R, which has a certain ability to predict future behavior and is used in research and application in several areas from personnel selection to health psychology.
Five-factor theory, with a focus on measurement and prediction, is one of the most concerned with the stability and consistency of people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors across situations. In applied personality psychology, this approach, regardless of specific theory and method of measurement, is therefore most prevalent: in order to select personnel one must assume that as they appear through the measurement situation gives a good picture of future behavior. In a clinical context, the other theories are more popular because there is a greater focus on change (focus on processes rather than structures).
A modern personality psychology based on traits also differs from type theories in that one does not think of personality as expressing mutually exclusive packages of either or traits (for example, either extrovert or introvert), but primarily degrees of different normally distributed traits (most are more or less extrovert).
|Rankings||Psychology Programs||Departments and Schools|
|1||University of Arkansas
Address: 216 Memorial Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701
Phone: (479) 575-4256
E-mail: [email protected]
|Department of Psychology|
|2||University of Central Arkansas
Address: Box 4915, Conway, AR 72035-0001
Phone: (501) 450-5411
E-mail: [email protected]
|Department of Psychology and Counseling|
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