In order to answer the question and assess the value of the construct 'personality', this essay will focus on the biological approach to ‘personality’ in particular, while weighing up the strengths and weaknesses, in order to reach a valid conclusion.
When considering to what extent the construct 'personality' is valuable, it is necessary to define what is meant by the terms 'personality' and construct. The idea of 'personality' is prevalent in both every day and academic discourse, meaning views on ‘personality’ vary widely, from lay definitions to Psychological definitions. While many Psychological terms have been adopted into everyday language, the public perspective of ‘personality’ differs from the actual Psychological terms. Lay definitions of 'personality' are often based on value judgements in terms of social attractiveness and physical appearance, and are judged primarily in a social context. Lay definitions of 'personality' are commonly linked with implicit ‘personality’ theories. These are 'intuitively based theories of human behaviour that we all construct to help us understand both others and ourselves' (Maltby, 2010). As human beings have a natural interest in explaining behaviour, we use implicit theories, based on observations, to try to understand concepts such as people's character and what sort of person they are. Our implicit theories of ‘personality’ tend to work quite well, but are flawed in the fact that they are based on chance observations which we seldom get the chance to investigate further. Psychologists attempt to find more reliable methods when regarding 'personality'. As previously stated, Psychological definitions of 'personality' are not the same as lay definitions, yet there is also much debate over the Psychological definition. A reasonably comprehensive definition is provided by Gordon Allport, 'a... [continues]
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