A Handbook for Personality Theories and Research

Make sure to read the PDF in “Detailed Instructions on Assignments.”This week’s topic is writing a brief introduction to your handbook. Provide a brief overview on all theories (what do they have in common, what is their purpose?). You are NOT reviewing any theories this week. Listen to the assignment review video if you are confused.By submitting this paper, you agree: (1) that you are submitting your paper to be used and stored as part of the SafeAssign™ services in accordance with the Blackboard Privacy Policy; (2) that your institution may use your paper in accordance with your institution’s policies; and (3) that your use of SafeAssign will be without recourse against Blackboard Inc. and its affiliates.Justin I3 minutes agoA Primer for Personality Theories and ResearchThis primer is intended as a foundational document for discussions within the Personality Theoriescourse which you are taking. As such, it is important you read it thoroughly enough to understand theterms, constructs, and framework presented as your future discussions will be based upon these ideas.The primer will present to you:1. An introduction to personality theory and research2. A framework on which future discussions will be based3. Selected aspects of personality (personhood) from a Christian perspectiveYou have a lengthy and expensive textbook which discusses in great detail a number of theorists andrepresentative research from the major perspectives in personality. This paper is not intended to takethe place of any of that material. This primer will address issues at a higher level of analysis and willallow for a common understanding and dialogue as we discuss and critique the various perspectives.Please understand this document provides information useful in comprehending the entire field ofpersonality by presenting constructs which are central to personality, yet differ among the theories. Bybecoming proficient with these ideas, appreciating personality in its entirety becomes more realistic.IntroductionWhen you pick up a typical personality theories textbook you will find chapters on Freud(psychoanalysis), Skinner (behaviorism), and Rogers (humanism). On the other hand, if you pick up acurrent research journal on personality, you will rarely find mention of any of these theorists. It isimportant to understand the older major historical figures in personality generally do not providedirection for the field of personality research.This is not to say the older theorists and theories have no impact on current research and theories. As anexample, Freud’s influence has more to do with the issues he identified than his solutions to thoseissues. As Robert Hogan (1976) has said, “The suggestions that people inevitably deceive themselvesabout social motives, that there are fixed limits to human nature impervious to social change, and thatman is naturally aggressive as well as loving seem far more important than the question of where theego gets its energy or how the meaning of dream symbolism is acquired.” Many researchers find Freud’sinitial, general ideas insightful, but few adhere to his specific theoretical accounts of those ideas.The theories of Freud, Skinner, and Rogers no longer represent the mainstream thought in the field ofpersonality. These theorists have all played a role in the development of the field, but theorists thesedays rarely label themselves as Freudian, Skinnerian, or Rogerian. The key point here is that currentresearch is more heavily influenced by more current theories of personality such as trait theories andsocial cognitive theories. As you become more familiar with research journals and the various theoriesyou will recognize this connection. The orientation of the field today is more properly labeled scientificor empirical. Again, older theories play a part in research, but more current thinking has a much moredirect influence in the empirical field. Make sure you understand the difference between the historicsignificance of a theory and its current applicability.A Metatheoretical FrameworkA metatheory is a theory of theories so to speak. A metatheory attempts to take several theories, findimportant ideas or elements among all of the theories, and organize these elements in such a way thatmakes it possible to compare and contrast the theories in a meaningful way using a set of important andcommon constructs. This section borrows heavily from the personality work of Salvatore Maddi (1984).As we look at the nature and scope of personality theorizing we will also see a general parallel toChristian work on personhood.It was once remarked that the entire enterprise of personality theorizing is centered around theagreements that every person is in some respects (a) like all other people; (b) like some other people;and (c) like no other people (Murray, 1948). Said another way, personality theories make statementsabout what it is to be distinctively human (like all other people), how we are categorized into broad,meaningful groups (like some other people), and important trait level characterizations (like no otherpeople).Likewise from a Christian perspective we see how humanity is defined as distinct from the rest ofcreation, we see meaningful groups such as unregenerate and regenerate, and at the individualcharacteristic level we see varieties of gifts and talents discussed in Scripture. Within theology many ofthese ideas are discussed within the content area of the doctrine of man. If one believes a Christianperspective is correct concerning an understanding of humanity, including personality theory, then wemay view secular theories as secular doctrines of man. The previous statement is not made to beinflammatory, rather to show theology and secular psychology both speak to the same task of explainingpersonality. In the last section of this paper we will briefly present a number of ideas from the Christiandoctrine of man and compare them to some common counterparts from secular psychology. Keep inmind secular theories though not necessarily complete or accurate in certain ways, from a Christianperspective, still can provide useful insights into human nature and functioning. Scripture and empiricalor theoretical work are different types of knowledge and should be thought of as complementary ratherthan conflicting. So your task will be to evaluate what we really know from each type of knowledge,careful not to force preconceived ideas, and construct a full picture of human personality.So if both Christianity and psychology are both at work on a common task can we simply take what weknow from each and combine them? The simple answer is no. Though secular theories leave out God, aclearly big piece of the puzzle for Christians, it is incorrect to say such theories are useless to us. Moreaccurately viewed, current personality theories can provide useful insights, but the pieces of thetheories are incomplete and/or improperly ordered. Let us now look at the three categories alreadymentioned using labels that allow us to engage in a dialogue from secular to Christian. These are thelabels we will carry throughout the course discussions.As mentioned above, personality theories attempt to outline what is common among people and what,in varying degrees, differentiates people. When a theory states those things that people have incommon it is making what we will call core statements about personality. The first type of corestatements addresses such central ideas as purpose, direction, and function of life and is called a coretendency. For instance, Abraham Maslow’s core tendency about humanity was that we all have an urgeto realize our potential. All personality theorists have core statements or tendencies though you will seevariation and occasional overlap as we survey various theorists and theories. So all theorists must tell uswhat drives humanity or what people are moving toward, but theorists will differ in their answers towhat is the direction of life.Once we know what a theorist has determined as the core tendency for people we still need to know atheorist’s core statement about how it is accomplished, which is called a core characteristic. You willsoon see part of what Freud considered to be the core tendency for humanity is instinct gratification,but how is it that he would say we succeed in achieving it? We must have certain characteristics (corecharacteristics) in place to help us do what is central to our being. In Freud’s theory we see the existenceof the id, ego, and superego. These are three core characteristics all people have that help us movetoward our core tendencies. Whereas core tendencies can be thought of as direction for us, corecharacteristics can be thought of as structure(s) that help us progress in that direction. In other words,for each theory covered we will have a core statement about direction for our lives called a coretendency and we have a core statement about parts of us that help us achieve our direction called acore characteristic.Having identified what is most universal about people, theorists must also state what distinguishespeople into groups and even further distinguishes them into individuals. Statements of this nature arereferred to as peripheral statements. For instance Jung believed the basic division of introversionextraversion separated people into meaningful groups when attempting to understand behavior.Peripheral statements can refer to characteristics of personality ranging from broad determinants suchas introversion-extraversion to individual level personality traits such as shyness, sociability, or kindness.Almost any sort of personality difference or trait can be seen as a peripheral characteristic.We have seen how all personality theorists propose core and peripheral ideas concerning humanity.However, given a common direction and common characteristics how do we then end up as part ofdifferent groups and all quite different from one another individually? There must be a mechanism forgetting us from all the same direction and characteristics to belonging to different groups and acting asindividuals. These processes are outlined in what are referred to as developmental statements. Thesedevelopmental statements describe how the core statements interact with a person’s environment(family, friends, etc.) to produce an individual’s personality type. Each theorist must make thesedevelopmental statements about how we move or develop from a common bond with all others tobeing distinctive in a crowd. Last, personality theorists usually present what they consider to be the idealpersonality type. For any theorist, the ideal type fully represents the core tendency and corecharacteristics of the theory which results from maturing through ideal developmental conditions.Rogers calls his ideal type the fully functioning person. Your task will be to identify and understand theconnections among Rogers’ and other theorists’ core statements, peripheral statements, and ideal type.In fact using this framework you will not only be able to understand each theorist in the same way, butyou will be able to compare each theorist to the others using a common vocabulary by the end of thecourse.A Christian View of PersonalityBefore discussing a single issue related to a Christian view of personality let me address two importantpoints. First, the task of developing a comprehensive personality is extremely complex and far outside ofthe intent of this paper. Relatedly, the propositions outlined should be understood as a few centralideas, not an exhaustive treatment of personality from a Christian perspective. Second, because there isno single agreed upon definition of Christian personality, this discussion should be considered as it islabeled, merely a single way of viewing personality from a Christian perspective. So what follows is anincomplete way to view personality from one Christian perspective.Two ideas central to Christianity must be mentioned even in a brief coverage of any Christian attempt todescribe personality. First we must address the fact that each person is created in the image of God andone’s true personality is the expression of this image. As you move through the theorists consider howdifferent this view of the origin of an expressed view of personality is compared to those you arestudying. Again space limitations do not allow for a full discussion of image of God and its relationship topersonality here, but part of your task in this course will be to develop such a discussion. Second, wemust address concern for others. As creatures created for community we necessarily are intended to beconcerned for those around us. From a Christian perspective then “personality is developed into itshighest form through loving commitment to others” (Vitz, 1994). Taken together we see we are createdlike God and created to be concerned with the well being of others. Can these two ideas be categorizedusing the discussion above about core, peripheral, and developmental statements?In addition to these two broad tenets a number of other important concepts exist which help provide aclear, meaningful comparison across personality theories. In the table below each concept is presentedby two extreme categorical positions. However the pair of descriptors can best be thought of asrepresenting opposite ends of the same continuum. As you study the theories throughout this courseyou will be asked to assess where they fall on these continuums and how the collective picturecompares to other theories. In other words, along with the two Christian ideas mentioned above theconcepts below will contribute to a Christian framework which will allow you to make the same kinds ofassessments for each personality theory.A few notes are in order to explain the table below. From an empirical perspective the descriptors beloware best labeled assumptions as we are not really able to prove them in an empirical sense. The fact wecannot prove these assumptions partially accounts for the wide range of starting points for personalitytheorists and even Christians when describing people. As already mentioned, any two ideas on the samerow of the table can be considered to be opposite and extreme points on a continuum. Also alreadymentioned, this is a brief and incomplete list of comparative constructs. In fact, you may discover somevaluable comparisons not listed here as you read through Scripture, your text, and other sources ofinformation about personhood. Most importantly about the table, you will notice some of the seculartheory column labels do not apply to certain specific theories. The column descriptors are notattempting to say all secular theories adhere to all of these descriptors. Rather, these are the descriptorsyou will encounter as you move through the various theories collectively. Some secular theories do nothold to determinism, but many do. Another part of your task will be to determine which of theconstructs below are meaningful to each specific theory. Last, to gain a full working knowledge of theseideas below, especially the first three, you will likely need to read beyond this short paper. Discoveringknowledge or expanding knowledge on your own tends to raise retention of that knowledge so browsearound and read about some of these ideas until you feel comfortable discussing them – as you will haveto do. These are central ideas for psychology and useful in many of your courses.Secular Theories Christian TheoryAtheism/Naturalism TheismReductionism ConstructionismDeterminism Free willCreated by the self in the image of the self Created by God in the image of GodLoves and trusts self, may trust others, and rejectsor ignores GodLoves God and others and loves the self as othersTrue freedom is complete dependence on theautonomous selfTrue freedom is complete dependence is on Godwho is autonomousEverything outside the self is subjective God, others, and the physical world are objectiverealitiesPlease note the descriptors for secular theories are categories provided as starting points to evaluate theories. They are notintended to represent all or even most secular theories.For your Weekly Personality Primer Paper assignment you will need to address the following ideas todescribe each theory: core tendency, core characteristics, peripheral statements, developmentalstatements, and ideal type. You will also need to use the ideas presented in the Christian View ofPersonality section of this paper to critique each theory. You will need to discuss what is missing andimportant from a Christian perspective, that is, what is not addressed; what is addressed and isimportant; and to what degree and at what levels parts of the theory are consistent with Christian ideasof personality.ReferencesHogan, R. (1976). Personality Theories: The Personological Tradition. New York: Praeger Publishers.Maddi, S. R. (1984). Personality Theories: A Comparative Analysis. Chicago: Dorsey Press.Murray, H. A. (1948). Personality in Nature, Society and Culture. New York: Knopf.Vitz, P. C. (1994). Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. EerdmansPublishing Company.Justin I2 minutes agoA Handbook for Personality Theories and ResearchYou will be creating a “handbook” on personality theories. Your textbook details a number of theorists and representative research from the major perspectives in personality. This document will address issues at a higher level of analysis and then provide the detailed instructions to the assignment.BackgroundThe typical personality theories textbook will cover Freud (psychoanalysis), Skinner (behaviorism), and Rogers (humanism). However, in current research journals on personality, you will see limited consideration/discussion of these theorists. It is important to understand the older major historical figures in personality generally do not provide direction for the field of personality research.This is not to say the older theorists and theories have no impact on current research and theories. For example, many researchers find Freud’s general ideas insightful (behavior comes from a motivator), but few adhere to his specific theoretical accounts of those ideas. The theories of Freud, Skinner, and Rogers no longer represent the mainstream thought in the field of personality. These theorists played a role in the development of the field but do not represent current research or the psychology field. Make sure you understand the difference between the historic significance of a theory and its current applicability. We learn about these theories to have a foundational knowledge.A Metatheoretical FrameworkPersonality theories make statements about what it is to be distinctively human (universal, how we are like all other people), how we are categorized into broad, meaningful groups (shared groups, how we are like some other people), and important trait level characterizations (individuals, how we are not like any other people).Likewise, from a Christian perspective we see how humanity is defined as distinct from the rest of creation, we see meaningful groups such as unregenerate and regenerate, and at the individual characteristic level we see varieties of gifts and talents discussed in Scripture. Scripture and secular empirical/theoretical work are different types of knowledge and can be thought of as complementary rather than conflicting.So, if both Christianity and psychology are both at work on a common task can we simply take what we know from each and combine them? The simple answer is no. Your task will be to evaluate what we know from each type of knowledge and construct a full picture of human personality.When a personality theory states things that people have in common, it is making a core statement about personality. A core statement addresses foundational ideas such as purpose, direction, and function of life. The belief about the purpose or function of behaviors is called a core tendency. For example, Abraham Maslow theory about our hierarchy of needs (see image below). His theory says that the core tendency of humanity is that we have an urge to realize our potential (reaching potential is at the top).A close up of text on a white backgroundDescription automatically generatedAll personality theories have some kind of core tendency belief. There can be overlap but they are all explaining what the driving force in our lives is. This is focused on the universal or what we all have in common. Each theory believes there are basic structures of a person that helps achieve the driving force. For example, Freud believed we all have an id, ego, and superego. These basic structures are the core characteristics of a person.Having identified what is most universal about people, theorists also state what distinguishes people into groups or distinguishes them into individuals, called peripheral statements. Examples of this could include basic division of introversion-extraversion, which separates people into meaningful group. Then looking at individual level personality traits such as shyness, sociability, or kindness.These different characteristics are affected by a variety of life processes such as our environment, family, friends, or experiences. Each theory makes a developmental statement about how a person’s environment produces an individual’s personality type.Finally, the theories all provide information about what they consider to be the ideal personality type. That is a description of how what a person’s personality would be like if they fully mature in ideal developmental conditions.Before discussing a Christian view of personality, please consider an important point. The task of developing a comprehensive personality is extremely complex and far outside of the intent of this course or any one assignment. In that same way, there is not a single definition of personality from a Christian perspective. As such, it is important for us to be open and flexible to the many different thought processes and how we incorporate our Christian perspective to any material.A Christian View of PersonalityTwo ideas central to Christianity are particularly relevant when we describe personality.Each person is created in the image of God and one’s true personality is the expression of this image.We are creatures created for community and thus are inherently concerned and connected to those around us.There are many other important tenets and concepts that help us have a clear, meaningful understanding of Christianity and personality theories. There will be a wide-ranging amount of valuable comparisons as you read Scripture, your text, or from other sources of information. Discovering knowledge or expanding knowledge on your own tends to raise insight and understanding so it’s encouraged to try to connect different ideas.______________________________________________________________________________Assignment Weekly Personality Handbook AssignmentEach week you will be writing a brief 1-2 page essay detailing the theory’s ideas. I encourage you to use the same structure each week because you will be writing about the same parts of each theory; these assignments should be in an essay format using APA style and should avoid quotes. Do NOT copy the explanation of the theories—you will lose points (see rubric).Elements to include and describe about each theory starting in week 2:What is the function of our behaviors?What characteristics should we notice about people?How does the environment affect our personality?How can we translate/connect this theory with Christian ideas of personality?creative! These are secular theories so none of them will directly address faith principles—you must interpret them.Very brief example of the kind of content (your assignment should be essay format and in APA style—no more than 2 pages though. Don’t use the bullets in your paper.)What is the function of our behaviors?Freud believed our behaviors were based on our early childhood experiences (citation here).What characteristics should we notice about people?Our Id, Ego, and Superego would determine the behaviors with the Id controlling XX behavior, Ego controlling XX behavior, and Superego controlling XX behavior (citation here).How does the environment affect our personality?Our environment might determine our coping mechanisms. Freud believed we had certain coping mechanisms including XXX (citation here). For example, at work, we might use XXX to cope because it is more appropriate.How can we translate/connect this theory with Christian ideas of personality?Freud believes that if we can get to the root of our problems through catharsis and dream analysis, we are able to heal (citation here). This could be compared to Christianity in that God calls us to confess our sins (the root of our problems).Excellent (25)Good (20)Fair (15)Poor (10)Thesis (Content)25 ptsThe essay includes a focused, polished thesis or sophisticated organizing principle. All elements have been addressed and provides discussion at a critical level, not just recitation of information from the textbook. No copied sections/quotations in explanation. The essay includes an appropriate, focused thesis or organizing principle. Some elements have been addressed. The discussion is generally competent, but the information provided may be limited and/or basic. 1-2 copied sections/quotations in explanation. The essay includes a thesis or organizing principle and develops a position or clear narrative, although the position/narrative might not be exceptionally focused, polished, or convincing. At least one element has been addressed. The discussion is limited and/or basic. 3+ copied sections/quotations in explanation. The essay lacks an evident organizing principle or thesis statement and fails to adequately develop a convincing position or unified narrative. None of the elements are addressed and the discussion is limited. 3+ copied sections/quotations in explanation.Research and Evidence25 ptsThe essay includes well-chosen, effective supporting research and information. It correctly cites all outside sources (both in-text and end references) and successfully avoids plagiarism. Citations/ references include the textbook, the Bible, and other sources (e.g. other textbooks, research articles). The essay includes good supporting research or information. Citations are present (both in-text and end references) but may not be consistent or may have formatting issues. Citations/ references include the textbook and the Bible. The essay includes adequate supporting information. Citations are present but are not consistent Citations/ references include either the textbook or the Bible. Overreliance on quotes is present. The essay does not include enough supporting information. Citations are either absent or inconsistent in formatting.Organization and Development25 ptsThe essay demonstrates exceptional critical thinking skills. Evidence is organized and presented persuasively, coherently and logically, with one point leading smoothly to the next. The essay contains insightful and thoughtful ideas, connections, or applications. The essay demonstrates strong critical thinking skills. Evidence is organized and presented logically and coherently, within an appropriate plan of organization. Some connections are present but may be limited or not clearly incorporated into discussion. The essay demonstrates some critical thinking skills. Evidence is organized and presented logically, within an observable plan for organization. There may be some logical fallacies, points left underdeveloped, or some ineffective narrative development. The essay fails to demonstrate adequate critical thinking skills. Evidence or development is presented haphazardly, illogically, or ineffectively. The content does not demonstrate connection to the thesis.Style and Mechanics25 ptsThe essay conveys an effective, distinct author’s voice. The essay demonstrates a polished and effective writing style using APA formatting. The essay is free of errors in the convention of the English language. The essay conveys an effective, author’s voice. The essay demonstrates an effective writing style using APA formatting. Less than 5 errors with APA style and/or in the convention of the English language. The paper is clean, but it lacks attention to detail. It gives the reader some sense of the author’s voice. The essay demonstrates a suitable writing style appropriate for the audience, topic, and purpose. Although the essay may contain some errors in the convention of the English language, it will be free of egregious grammatical errors. APA formatting is not utilized. The essay fails to conform to a formatting style. It fails to give the reader some sense of the author’s voice. The essay fails to demonstrate an effective writing style due to inappropriate for the audience, topic, and purpose. Essay has frequent spelling and grammatical errors, has issues with content flow, or may be difficult to read. APA formatting is not utilized.