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Social Sci LibreTexts

1.S: Chapter Summary

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  • Review of Key Points:

    • There is no simply definition of personality. The nomothetic approach focuses on personality as a construct, while the idiographic approach emphasizes the uniqueness of individuals.
    • A wide variety of theoretical perspectives influence how psychologists view personality, including psychodynamic factors, learning/cognitive factors, biological factors, inherent drives, and sociocultural influences.
    • The various personality theories also address questions related to nature vs. nurture, whether individuals are unique or whether there are types of personality common to all people, the relative importance of the past, present, and future, and the significance of free will.
    • An important trend in psychology today is the emphasis on positive psychology, and the potential for the field of psychology to contribute in positive ways to society.
    • A variety of research designs have been used by personality theorists. Historically, many famous theorists relied on case studies. When possible, however, many psychologists prefer the experimental design, since only true experiments allow psychologists to make case-and-effect statements. More recently, some psychologists have begun to focus on cross-cultural and multicultural approaches to studying personality.
    • A wide variety of personality tests have been developed, both objective and projective tests. Since it often proves difficult to establish the reliability and validity of some personality tests, a clinical interview is an essential step in forming an opinion regarding someone’s personality (especially if there is a question of mental illness).
    • Critical thinking is purposeful, reasoned, goal-directed thinking aimed at evaluating claims that are made as being true.