Social Psychology

By Daniel Katz; Richard L. Schanck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS AND THE STRUCTURE OF PERSONALITY

Psychology employs many terms to describe and explain behavior and experience. Some of these terms such as conditioned response, attention, sensation, perception, and emotion apply to processes so universal and constant in the human species that they have been studied with little reference to their individual carriers. An experiment upon conditioning in the laboratory is regarded not as an experiment upon people, but as an experiment on the process of learning. One subject in the experiment is regarded as roughly equivalent to another subject. Other terms in psychology such as introversion, inferiority conflict, and ego-ideal are used with a somewhat different connotation. They not only have reference to a process, but they also remind us of the specific people who exhibit these processes.* In this chapter we shall investigate the dimensions of personality which the terms of this second group name. These concepts cover aspects of personality of varying degrees of inclusiveness, and all of them must be considered to cover the total structure of personality.

In Table VI is presented a classification of personality characteristics. The major categories represent descriptions of personality for different purposes and hence are not mutually exclusive as far as personality itself is concerned. The five major headings are: (1) Capacities, the physically determined abilities; (2) temperament, the emotional dimension; (3) traits,

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*
The difference between these two types of concepts is not in the process studied, but in the point of view taken by the investigator. Introversion, for example, is not a function independent of learning and emotion. It is the way in which learning and emotion are organized with reference to the adjustment of a particular individual to his world.

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