Opinions and Personality

Opinions and Personality

Opinions and Personality

Opinions and Personality

Excerpt

In the development of a science, there is a strategy of discovery as well as a strategy of proof. In envy of the precision of method and theory attained by the physical scientists, psychologists and social scientists have in recent years focussed their efforts perhaps too exclusively in the direction of proof. Our purpose in this book, and in the research that underlies it, is of the other sort: not to establish beyond reasonable doubt insights already in our repertory, but to gain new insights into the relations of opinions and personality. We also seek to develop a coherent framework for conceptualizing these relations, and to illustrate this framework sufficiently to encourage more systematic investigation of the research problems to which it gives rise. Our data, drawn as they are from close study of the "opinionlugs" of ten men, cannot support conclusions about the prevalence of particular phenomena or relationships in a larger population. Our concern, in a word, is with the natural history of holding opinions, and our aspiration is to construct an adequate framework for this task.

The study that gave rise to this book is described in Chapter 4. It is one of a long series of investigations at the Harvard Psychological Clinic in which normal personality has been brought under close scrutiny through case studies carried out by groups of investigators. We gladly register our great indebtedness to Dr. Henry A. Murray . . .

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