Personality: A Topical Approach: Theories, Research, Major Controversies, and Emerging Findings

Personality: A Topical Approach: Theories, Research, Major Controversies, and Emerging Findings

Personality: A Topical Approach: Theories, Research, Major Controversies, and Emerging Findings

Personality: A Topical Approach: Theories, Research, Major Controversies, and Emerging Findings

Synopsis

Many texts attempt to bridge theory and research. They include one or two pages dealing with important theorists--Jung, Adler, Freud, et al.--inserted into chapters focused on academic studies. In most cases, the discussion fails to do justice to the theorists and the relationship between the ideas and the empirical work is often tenuous at best.

This book takes a different approach. An alternative to Ewen's An Introduction to Theories of Personality, this book features a chapter on each major type of theory followed by a separate chapter reviewing the relevant research, controversies, and emerging findings.

Although it incorporates material from the previous text, there are substantial differences. Personality: A Topical Approach devotes more attention to psychological research, and considerably less attention to the more minor and abstruse aspects of various theories. Chapters are devoted to the following theories:

• pychoanalytically-oriented,

• tait,

• cgnitive,

• self-humanistic, and

• behaviorism.

While the book emphasizes major research foci (the Big Five personality factors, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and more), it also includes a chapter on research methods and coverage of issues often omitted from other texts such as dream interpretation, cognitions and the Holocaust, scientific inquiry, and near-death experiences. The book also provides study questions, a "help" section, and a glossary.

Excerpt

This book is an alternative to, not a replacement for, my textbook on theories of personality (Ewen, 1993). An Introduction to Theories of Personality is still in print, and will remain available so long as there are those who wish to use it. The theorist-by-theorist approach allows the student to examine the mysteries of human behavior through the eyes of Freud, Jung, Adler, Horney, and so on, and to obtain a thorough understanding of each theory. But the topical approach also has advantages, as I have learned by writing this book. I have discussed the advantages of each approach in the section entitled "Two Approaches to the Study of Personality" in chapter 1.

Because there is a great deal of overlap between these two approaches, I do not expect any student to read both books and take both courses. Therefore, I have incorporated a considerable amount of material from An Introduction to Theories of Personality into the present text. However, there are also substantial differences. The present text devotes considerably more attention to psychological research, and considerably less attention to the more minor and abstruse aspects of various theories. Only four chapters are devoted to individual theories. Psychoanalytically oriented theory is introduced by a chapter on Freud, trait theory by a chapter on Allport, cognitive theory by a subchapter on Kelly, humanistic/self theory by a chapter on Rogers, and behaviorism by a chapter on Skinner. Each of these is followed by a chapter (or subchapter) that deals with relevant research and the work of related theorists (including Jung, Adler, Horney, Fromm, Sullivan, Erikson, Murray, Cattell, Eysenck, Maslow, and Bandura), all of which is organized by topic.

The present text also includes a chapter on research methods. I have placed this chapter at the end because I believe that students will better appreciate this material after they have seen how various theories are affected by methodological issues, and because I prefer to begin this course by discussing personality issues rather than numerical issues. However, instructors who disagree may follow chapter 1 with chapter 11 with little or no loss in continuity. As befits a first edition, I typed every word of the present text on my personal computer, including those sections adopted from An Introduction to Theories of Personality.

Chapters 2 through 11 conclude with a set of study questions designed to encourage critical thinking. To help achieve this goal (and to stimulate discussion), I have included some questions that go beyond the chapter material, some that have no clear-cut right or wrong answers, and some where my personal viewpoint might be challenged by other psychologists. I suggest that these study questions be regarded as an integral part of each chapter.

I would like to thank Larry Erlbaum for the opportunity to write this book. Larry has been there for me on several important occasions, and I am indebted to him for his encouragement and support.

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