Personality: Purpose of Theories, Traits, and and the Role of Brain Function on Personality

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Kristeller i


In this paper, I am going to explain what the purposes of theories are and how we decide whether that theory is any good, what personality traits are and what the general agreements on the basic dimensions of personality are, and what the evidence of the role of brain function on personality is.

Kristeller 1
Purpose of a Theory

Theory in personality psychology has two purposes. One purpose is to explain what has occurred in the world and they always explain things that are already known to be true. Without at least part of the event being true, a theory wouldn’t be of much use (Carver & Scheier, p. 6-7). That is necessary - an explanation as to why it occurs. A theory also could suggest other ways of looking at things in the idea that it would come up with a different explanation for the event that hasn’t yet been thought of. It is very difficult to predict what will come from a theory as they have a little factor of ambiguity about them. If there are a lot of things that must be considered in a theory, the more difficult it is to arrive at an explanation. It is important that a theory be able to be tested. It is an untested hunch or a guess until you can gather evidence which will support it. Any scientist should be able to predict what they will find if the theory is true. Any new findings should fit the theory but if they do not the theory is either revised or thrown out only to start the process again (American Museum of Natural History). When more tests of the theory are passed, the stronger the theory will become. “Studies of personality provide information about how accurate or useful a theory is”, (Carver & Scheier, p. 7).

If necessary a theory can be revised.

A Good Theory

There are certain aspects you look for when deciding if a theory is a good theory or not. A theory must be simple, accurate, consistent, and it should inspire further research. Theories are vital for advancement in their particular field of study. To see whether a theory is a good and viable one, we run the gamut with the all of the variables which present themselves and make sure that it is testable. One thing that you need to watch is that a theory has been devised around material so that the theory works. A theory should never be set up according to scientists’ desires for the wanted outcomes. Also a theory Kristeller 2

should be tested and retested over and over again before it can be labeled thus. If a revision is made to any theory it should be tested again because it is not the same theory as originally set (Carver & Scheier, p. 8). A good theory is one that goes through a “cycle of prediction, testing, revision, or refinement, and additional prediction and testing can be virtually never ending”, (Carver & Scheier, p. 8).

Another aspect of a good theory is that is being parsimonious. That is the theory needs to “have the quality of needing few assumptions”, (Carver & Scheier, p. 13 Glossary). It must be easy and simple in nature. Do not include unnecessary items in a theory as it will be too complex and difficult. Another and last point in the decision regarding a good theory is that it should be appealing and should be geared to how the world is viewed. A good theory can draw people to it and yet it may also make people angry. It gets an emotion going within people and this adds to its attention. Personality Traits

I have learned that traits within a personality are a tough thing to...
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