Personality: Development and Assessment

Personality: Development and Assessment

Personality: Development and Assessment

Personality: Development and Assessment

Excerpt

The study of personality, with its focus on the whole individual, deals with a wide variety of interacting determinants. In accord with their training, various investigators approach the subject with emphasis on physiology or learning or social pressures or symptoms of maladjustment. Some theorists emphasize problems which others ignore; often they use different concepts to explain similar phenomena. The result is a diversity of practical rules and abstract theories which do not fit conveniently into a systematic organization.

In consequence, the beginning student of personality faces a dilemma. If he too quickly becomes enamored of one consistent theory he may overlook important problems. Yet if he samples many theories he will have trouble integrating them. In this book we attempt to resolve the dilemma by presenting an overview of the many problems of personality study before considering the major theories and the methods of assessment. We do not attempt to describe all the variations of personality at each age level, or to teach methods of altering personality and adjustment.

Part I introduces the major topics of personality development in a sequence approximating the life periods in which they become especially important, put with some attention to how the problems vary with age and experience. This plan seems to afford a desirable perspective view of personality development, even into old age. Some additional integration of topics is gained by treating personality as a patterning of human system functions. Considerable attention is given to concepts of sensitization, arousal, and response elicitation, any or all of which may ultimately help to explain individualities of behavior which have been neglected by traditional theories of motivation. Various forms of learning and reinforcement are related to cultural influences and to the development of the personal techniques, attitudes, and self concepts which are so important in the organization of personality.

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