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Approaches to Personality Study

By Ironlancer1 Jan 11, 2013 1094 Words
Approaches to Personality Study
The approach taken by the specialist in personality assessment is based on the assumption that much of the observable variability in behaviour from one person to another results from differences in the extent to which individuals possess particular underlying personal characteristics (traits). The assessment specialist seeks to define these traits, to measure them objectively, and to relate them to socially significant aspects of behaviour. Personality 

The concept of personality has different meanings in different context and within psychology it has been defined in many different ways. It is a broad, integrating concept and the definition of personality is restricted to properties which are both stable and distinctive. According to trait theorists personality can be defined as more or less stable, internal factors that make one person’s behaviour consistent from one time to another whereas according to proponents of social learning theories personality is viewed as dynamic responding to environment and people around them. | |

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Nomothetic Approach to Personality Assessment
Psychologists adopting nomothetic approach to personality assessment believe that personality is primarily determined by heredity, genetics and biochemistry of our brains. They argue that personality is stable, consistent and that environmental factors and social influences have little effect. They believe that traits are source of human personality which makes individual behaviour stable over lifespan. Idiographic Approach to Personality Assessment 

Psychologists adopting idiographic approach to study of personality consider measurement of traits as inappropriate because one person’s responses may not be comparable to another’s. They regard individuals as responding to environment and people around them and see the dynamics of the interactions as playing a critical part in shaping personality.

Personality Assessment
personality assessment, the measurement of personal characteristics. Assessment is an end result of gathering information intended to advance psychological theory and research and to increase the probability that wise decisions will be made in applied settings (e.g., in selecting the most promising people from a group of job applicants). Back in 1800s, one who wishes to know his personality went to see a phrenologist. A phrenologist was a highly respected person who would carefully measure your skull, examine the bumps of your head and give you a psychological profile of your unique qualities and characteristics. They used a phrenology chart to determine which personality traits were associated with bumps on different areas of the skull. But today, it is conducted through behavioral observations, paper-and-pencil tests, and projective techniques. To be useful, such assessments must be constructed using the established criteria of standardization, reliability, and validity. The information can be used in several areas, including clinical work, vocational counseling, education, and research. Observational method

Most people use behavioral observations to form impressions of others. Such observations are also an important part of clinical assessments by clinical psychologists and other professionals. Since 1950, it become an important clinical assessment technique. Interviewing and observing

Structured interviews
Contain specific questions and follow a set of procedures so that the person being assessed can be compared more objectively. Results are often charted on a rating scale to standardize the evaluations for comparison purpose. Unstructured interviews

Use for job and college selection and for diagnosing psychological problems. In an unstructured format, interviewers get impression and pursue hunches or let a person expand information that promises to unveil personality characteristics. Observation is a very sophisticated technique. Psychologist looks for specific behavior and follows carefully a set of evaluation guidelines.

Projective techniques 
Use for 2 reasons
-diagnosis and treatment selection
-assess personality by presenting ambiguous stimuli and requiring a subject to respond, projecting his or her personality into the responses. * The ambiguous inkblots in the well-known Rorschach inkblot test, developed by Hermann Rorschach, are perceived differently by different people, and those perceptions are believed to be related to the subjects' problems. * The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), developed by Henry Murray, consists of a series of ambiguous pictures, which the subject is requested to describe and tell a story about. The test is used to identify a person's emotions, motives, and problems. Scoring and interpreting projective tests requires special training, but the tests can be very helpful in identifying personality problems.

Children are asked to draw a man, a woman,and themselves. No further instructions aregiven and the child is free to make the drawingin whichever way he/she would like. There is noright or wrong type of drawing, although thechild must make a drawing of a whole personeach time - i.e. head to feet, not just the face.The test has no time limit; however, childrenrarely take longer than about 10 or 15 minutesto complete all three drawings. Harris's book(1963) provides scoring scales which are usedto examine and score the child's drawings. Thetest is completely non-invasive and non-threatening to children, which is part of its appeal Sentence completion tests

are a class of semi-structured projective techniques. Sentencecompletion tests typically provide respondents withbeginnings of sentences, referred to as ´stems,µand respondents then complete the sentences inways that are meaningful to them. The responsesare believed to provide indications of attitudes,beliefs, motivations, or other mental states. Thereis debate over whether or not sentence completiontests elicit responses from conscious thought ratherthan unconscious states. This debate would affectwhether sentence completion tests can be strictlycategorized as projective tests.

Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), authored by Leslie Morey, PhD, is a multi-scale test of psychological functioning that assesses constructs relevant to personality and psychopathology evaluation (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression) in various contexts including psychotherapy, crisis/evaluation, forensic, personnel selection, pain/medical, and child custody assessment. The PAI has 22 non-overlapping scales, providing a comprehensive overview of psychopathology in adults. The PAI contains four kinds of scales: 1) validity scales, which measure the respondent's approach to the test, including faking good or bad, exaggeration, or defensiveness; 2) clinical scales, which correspond to psychiatric diagnostic categories; 3) treatment consideration scales, which assess factors that may relate to treatment of clinical disorders or other risk factors but which are not captured in psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., suicidal ideation); and 4) interpersonal scales, which provide indicators of interpersonal dimensions of personality functioning. Psychology of the Whole Person

As psychology has celebrated the Decade of Behavior, it is time for a psychological celebration of the Year of the Whole Person. This paradigm shift would take the form of a new holistic perspective on psychology that brought behavior, cognition, and consciousness together in a dialectical relationship. A psychology of the whole person integrates body, mind, and psyche, and embraces a diversity of techniques and approaches to include the imaginal realm.

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