Scientific Study of Personality
January 14, 2013
Dr. Tera Duncan
There have been many theories that seek to define and explain personality. Some theories look at the different aspects of personality while others may put the emphasis on the traits that make up a personality. Is there one universal definition that is used among psychologists that can explain personality? There are many methods that researchers use to study personality. Among those methods, three of the most commonly used methods; case studies, correlational designs, and experimental designs or true experiments will be discussed in this paper. The questions that will be answered involve how these methods differ, the kind of information that each method provides, and the advantages and disadvantages of each of the methods. How Psychologists Define Personality
Psychologists define personality in different ways. Some think that an individual's personality is made up from individual patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and that a combination of all of those factors is what makes each person unique. As we interact with all sorts of people throughout the day, we do what psychologists do as well on a daily basis – we describe and judge the traits and behaviors that make up the personalities of those same people that we meet. The biggest difference between what we, as individuals do and what psychologists do has to do with focus. While we tend to focus on the specific traits of an individual, psychologists are more interested in conceptual ideas that can apply to everyone. In other words, personality assessment for a psychologist involves generalizations that create groupings (Feist & Feist, 2009). Psychologists agree that personality is something that is inherent within an individual and which remains consistent throughout his or her lifetime. With that understanding, psychologists strive towards understanding what makes one person unique from...
References: AllPsych Online. (2011). Research Methods. Retrieved February 28, 2013 from: http://allpsych.com/researchmethods/trueexperimentaldesign.html
Feist, J and Feist, G (2009). Theories of Personality (7th ed.). Retrieved from the University of Phoenix eBook Collection database on February 28, 2013.
Lanthier, Elizabeth. (2002). Case Study. Retrieved February 28, 2013 from: http://www.nvcc.edu/home/elanthier/methods/case-study.htm
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