COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE AIMS AND METHODS OF TRAIT THEORY WITH THOSE OF PERSONAL CONSTRUCT THEORY
Traits: a moderately, stable characteristic, that distinguishes one individual from another. Or the individual differences between individuals. Personal Constructs: an individual is seen as creating their own private structures of the world, centred on their own individual experiences, this is fundamental to making sense of the world and how to behave in it. These are the foundations of both approaches, which their aims, rationale and methods are based. This essay will explore the strengths and weaknesses of the two theories, with reference to their aims rationale and methods. I will also assess how these theories differentiate or correlate. This will be accomplished by critical evaluation. I will also be using the interrogative themes Power relations, situatedness of knowledge and individual-society dualism to strengthen my evaluation. Trait theory is based within the Cognitive social perspective, which uses measurements of personality as a way of defining individual differences. Personal construct theory is a form of phenomenology and situated in the clinical tradition, therefore personality is seen as something idiosyncratic to the individual, individual differences here “centres on the individual and the sometimes subtle differences between them”p.63.Butt (2012). Here I will give some background of the perspectives in which the two theories are situated. The Phenomenological perspective: a qualitative subjective perspective that views individuals as, experiencing objects in the world and in close relations with others. The methods used are to collect rich personal data from individuals’ experiences in the world through interviews and written texts. Personal Construct Theory uses a phenomenological interpretation of data collected on Kelly’s repertory grid or the Salmon line which is used in this theory to assess individuals. The Cognitive social perspective: a quantitative objective, perspective sees individuals as an information processing being in the social world. The methods used are experimental and social psychometrics, here the methods used are quantitative measurements, and use questionnaires to elicit information regarding social factors in controlled social conditions. The methodological data collected is statistical. Trait theory employs the use of measurements in their approach to personality. Here I will be using the psychometric test as a method to critically evaluate the two theories of personality. P. 63 Holloway (2012) p.14-19 Glossary DD307 (2012). I will begin by looking at the aims and of both theories, which use “personality” in their endeavour to explain individual differences of behaviour between individuals, and to critically compare and contrast the two. Trait theory’s ontology is to view individuals as information processing units; consequently the aims and purpose are to measure the individual differences from an objective point of view. Situated in the experimental tradition the knowledge produced is centred solely on traits that are measured there is no reference to environment or individual experiences. P 63 Holloway (2012). Glossary DD307 (2012) p.19 By contrast the Personal construct theory employs a more subjective view, in their aims and purpose, the focus of which is on is individual experiences and how we use these experiences to form our personal constructs and in doing so, how individuals interpret the world and how to behave in it. Positioned within the clinical tradition Personal construct theory has no use for experimental interpretations of variables and statistic. The only interest here is the individual’s experiences. P 63 Holloway (2012) Glossary DD307 (2012) p14. I will now explore the methods of the two theories The two theories being evaluated have contrasting methods as their aims are similar, in the effect that they both employ personality as means of viewing...
References: Butt, T., (2012) p. 62-63 second edition, Chapter three Individual differences in Social Psychology Matters. The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes
DD307 Critical Perspective on Self and Others Online Glossary p.14-19 (2012)
Holloway, W., (2012) Chapter two Social psychology: past and present in Social Psychology Matters .The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes
Holloway, W., (2012) p. 63 Chapter three Methods and knowledge in social psychology second edition Chapter two Social Psychology Past and Present in Social Psychology Matters .The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes
Mischel (1968) cited in Butt (2012) p.53 Chapter three Individual differences in Social Psychology Matters .The Open University Walton Hall Milton Keynes
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