Paradigms of Personality Assessment

Paradigms of Personality Assessment

Paradigms of Personality Assessment

Paradigms of Personality Assessment

Synopsis

From distinguished scholar and teacher Jerry S. Wiggins, this book is a uniquely integrative introduction to adult personality assessment that will engage graduate and undergraduate students alike. Part I thoroughly reviews five major assessment paradigms--psychodynamic, interpersonal, personological, multivariate, and empirical. In Part II, leading representatives of each paradigm are invited to interpret extensive test and interview data collected from a single subject. The resulting "collaborative case study" facilitates comparison of techniques, theories, and interpretations; illuminates the unique contributions of each paradigm; and suggests areas of common ground and potential integration.

Excerpt

This book is concerned with the history and development of five major traditions in personality assessment, which, for reasons that will become clear, may be regarded as “paradigms” within that field. Each of these paradigms has provided different answers to the fundamental questions of “What is personality?,” “How should we measure it?,” and “What should we measure?” In Table Int.1, developments over time are read within rows (and across columns), and alternative interpretations (not necessarily during the same time period) are read within the columns (and down the rows). The five great theorists who interpreted the concept of “personality” in different ways were Sigmund Freud, Harry Stack Sullivan, Henry A. Murray, Sir Francis Galton, and Emil Kraepelin.

Freud believed that human transactions are not as they appear on the surface, and that the wellsprings of human behavior are to be found in socially unacceptable unconscious drives; these drives express themselves in disguised form in such phenomena as slips of the tongue, dream symbols, and psychiatric symptoms. Sullivan could not conceive of personality as apart or separate from interpersonal relationships, and he defined personality in terms of recurrent patterns within such relationships. Murray maintained that the history of the personality is the personality. Galton believed that character has a corporeal basis, which can be inferred from an individual's actions, in much the same way that we infer intelligence from intelligent actions. And Kraepelin believed that disturbances in personality have an organic basis, and that they are best understood with reference to clusters of symptoms (as is done with physical symptoms in medicine).

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