Culture and Personality

Culture and Personality

Culture and Personality

Culture and Personality

Excerpt

Since the 1920's scholars and scientists have become, increasingly interested in the effects of cultural forces upon the personalities of individual members of the culture group. While the major contributions have been made by anthropologists, a growing number of sociologists, social psychologists and psychiatrists have turned their attention to the problem.

There is great potential value in the efforts of specialists from different fields focussing on a common goal. Certain difficulties, however, are likely to occur--difficulties of communication as well as of the more obvious differing approaches and interpretations. These must be recognized and dealt with if we are to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. In the study of culture and personality we face several such confusions. What do we mean by " ture" and by "personality"? What field-work procedures should be used in our investigations? Can quantitative methods, such as tests and experimentation, be utilized advantageously? How valid and useful are psychoanalytical interpretations? Projective techniques? Biographical methods? How important are subcultural factors, like family,community and class, within the broader cultural pattern? What are the possibilities for future cooperative research efforts?

These are a few of the questions growing out of interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of culture and personality. It seemed important for representatives from several fields to meet and discuss such matters, so a small committee of anthropologists and psychologists planned the present conference, held in New York on November 7 and 8, 1947, and attended by over a hundred interested persons from the Middle Atlantic States and New England. The papers and discussions do not give conclusive answers to the more puzzling questions, but many issues are dealt with pro-

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