Personality Assessment in America: A Retrospective on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Society for Personality Assessment

Personality Assessment in America: A Retrospective on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Society for Personality Assessment

Personality Assessment in America: A Retrospective on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Society for Personality Assessment

Personality Assessment in America: A Retrospective on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Society for Personality Assessment

Synopsis

Whereas most psychology books discuss current or future trends, this one focuses on the past. It consists of a collection of important and historically significant writings by a select group of men and women who, over the past 50 years, were honored by their colleagues for their distinguished contributions to the field of personality assessment. Published from 1939 through 1989, most of the papers were SPA Presidential addresses or presentations by the recipients of the Society's Distinguished Contributions Award. Taken as a whole, they provide a unique perspective on the evolution of personality assessment in America from the perspective of those who have made important contributions to that history. The writings are not merely of historical interest, but intrinsically important scientific contributions, some of which were in danger of being lost or forgotten. The editors feel it is important to preserve and pass on this valuable legacy for the education and edification of later generations.

It is not only its historical perspective that makes this book unique. This book provides first-hand discussions of crucial issues in personality assessment written by the gifted men and women who were actually grappling with these problems at the time, without knowing what the outcomes would be. Readers will find that these papers provide insights not only into the conflicts and controversies, but also into the ideas, attitudes, and emotions of the men and women who took part in them.

Excerpt

Contemporary consumers expect to receive product information with every purchase. This book is no exception. In this Preface we provide the information you need to obtain maximum usefulness and service from this volume. We have also provided some technical notes to assist you in using the bibliographic materials.

The contents of this book are unique in several respects. No matter how diligently you search among the psychology volumes on the shelves of your library, you will not find another quite like the one you are holding. What distinguishes it from the others? Whereas most psychology books discuss current or future trends, this one focuses on the past. It consists of a collection of important and historically significant writings by a select group of men and women who, over the past 50 years, were honored by their colleagues for their distinguished contributions to the field of personality assessment.

Chapter 1 is a brief overview of the history of personality assessment and of the Society for Personality Assessment (SPA). Our introductory chapter also includes a general commentary on the 16 selections that appear in the body of the text and an explanation of how these articles were chosen. Published from 1939 through 1989, most of the papers were SPA Presidential addresses or presentations by the recipients of the Society's Distinguished Contributions Award. Taken as a whole, they provide a unique perspective on the evolution of personality assessment in America from the viewpoint of those who made important contributions to that history.

Our initial purpose in assembling this volume was to celebrate the SPA's Fiftieth Anniversary with a commemorative volume, but this goal was soon transcended. As we searched through the 55 volumes of the Society's journals that had accumulated in the archives, we began to feel like museum curators who stumble on a storeroom filled with forgotten masterpieces. The writings we discovered were not merely of historical interest, but intrinsically important scientific contributions, some of which were in danger of being lost or forgotten. We felt that it was important to preserve and pass on this valuable legacy for the education and edification of later generations. Our only regret is that page limitations imposed by fiscal realities forced us to reduce the volume we initially envisioned by 50 percent.

Unlike many others, this book does not promise to put you at the "cutting edge" of some narrow subject by providing a review and analysis of the latest findings and speculations. It is not the edge, but the body of a knife, that determines its quality. With the edge you can scratch the surface, but . . .

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