Concepts of Personality

Concepts of Personality

Concepts of Personality

Concepts of Personality

Excerpt

The psychologist who pursues an interest in personality is constantly faced by a dilemma. He seeks to investigate what is to him the most intriguing and interesting subject--the multifaceted operations of man in his natural environment. The predicament lies in the discrepancy between the complexity and richness of man's subjective experience, and the pallid analog of these experiences the psychologist is able to study effectively with the research procedures available to him. If he holds to the premises of strict objectivity through controlled observations he finds himself driven to the periphery of the very problem he seeks to understand, to a place where the reliability of measurement and the validity and predictability of his instruments can often be specified but only at the cost of abandoning the goal of useful generality or of application to the individual in his ordinary life circumstances. Despite this formidable problem, the subject matter--man --is so intriguing, so necessary to understand, and the potential rewards so great, that psychology has never lacked for serious, creative students. It appears that this will continue, as the present volume indicates.

While striving for a recognition as a hard objective science in the model of the physical sciences, psychology has continued to support intuitive, empathic approaches to the understanding of human behavior. In developing and sustaining a variety of approaches to the understanding of man, it has borrowed, when it needed to, from the methods of other sciences but has always recognized that the explanations of man's complex behavior cannot ever be completely reduced to the terms of biology, chemistry and physics.

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