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Lecture_1 - Lecture 1-Psychology of Personality I Overview...

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Lecture 1 -Psychology of Personality I. Overview of Personality Theory From the investigations of Freud during the last decade of the 19th century until the present time, a number of personality theorists have (1) made controlled observations of human behavior and (2) speculated on the meaning of those observations. Differences in the theories of these men and women are due to more than differences in terminology; they stem from differences among theorists on basic issues concerning the nature of humanity. II. What Is Personality? The term personality comes from the Latin word persona , meaning the mask people wear or the role they play in life, but most psychologists use the term to refer to much more than the face or facade people show to others. Personality refers to a pattern of relatively permanent traits, dispositions, or characteristics that give some consistency to human behavior III. What Is a Theory? The term theory is often used quite loosely and incorrectly to imply something other than a useful scientific concept. Scientists use theories to generate research and organize observations. A. Theory Defined A theory is a set of related assumptions that allows scientists to use logical deductive reasoning to formulate testable hypotheses B. Theory and Its Relatives People often confuse theory with philosophy, speculation, hypothesis, or taxonomy. Although theory is related to each of these concepts, it is not synonymous with any of them. 1. Philosophy Philosophy—the love of wisdom—is a broader term than theory, but one branch of philosophy— epistemology —relates to the nature of knowledge, and theories are used by scientists in the pursuit of knowledge. 2. Speculation Theories rely on speculation, but that speculation must be based on the controlled observations of scientists. Science is the branch of study concerned with observation and classification of data and with the verification of general laws. Theories are practical tools used by scientists to guide research. 3. Hypothesis A theory is more general than a hypothesis and may generate a multitude of hypotheses, or educated guesses. 4. Taxonomy A taxonomy is a classification system, and classification is necessary to science. Taxonomies, however, do not generate hypotheses—a necessary criterion of a useful theory. C. Why Different Theories? Psychologists and other scientists have developed a variety of personality theories because they have differed in their personal background, their philosophical orientation, and the data they chose to observe. In addition, theories permit individual interpretation of the same observations, and each theorist has had his or her own way of looking at things. D. Theorists’ Personalities and Their Theories of Personality Because personality theories evolve from a theorist’s personality, psychologists interested in the psychology of science have begun to study the personal traits of leading personality theorists and their possible impact on their scientific theories and research.
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