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Why we need to study personality ?

Why study personality?

 Personality is not only defined this course, but it will also help define your life as well.
 All of us are interested in knowing more about ourselves and others. In examining our own behavior, we wonder why we are having such difficulty in deciding on a career path, whereas some of our friends have already made their decisions many months ago. We are impeded to explain why we are sometimes rude to our romantic partner even though our love for him or her is overwhelmingly clear to us. We sometimes seek to understand why we are so competitive with others, even when we are playing a friendly game with our closest friends. Making sense of these and other experiences often can help us to make adaptive changes and to live more satisfying lives. In the process of change, our inner conflicts are confronted and resolved. We can establish and clarify the goals that serve to motivate and focus our efforts, thereby enabling us to experience personal growth within the context of making contributions to society. 

We are, of course, also interested in knowing more about others. In analyzing their behavior, we wonder, for example, why one of our friends refuses to date a person we find particularly attractive. We are intrigued by the student who is fascinated by astronomy, whereas we find it difficult to listen attentively for more than ten minutes to a lecture on the topic. We are at a loss to explain why a quiet, self-effacing. The person who is well liked by neighbors and relatives should suddenly decide to enter a small Amish schoolhouse and begin to slaughter students. In each of these instances, we seek to generate explanations for the actions we observe: we want to know why these individuals behaved as they did. Understanding the behavior of others not only satisfies our curiosity but also gives us a greater sense of control over our own lives, and makes the world more predictable and less threatening.  

 Human behavior also are sought by psychologists 

Explanations for human behavior also are sought by psychologists who work in the discipline of personality psychology. In seeking explanations for individual differences in behavior, they construct theories designed to explain—and, therefore, help us better understand—a wide variety of behavioral differences that we experience. Their efforts are aimed at understanding human motivation and behavior throughout the entire developmental process—from individual differences in activity level at birth to the differing attitudes of young and elderly people toward dying. As mentioned earlier, the range of behavior under consideration is clearly so great, and the phenomena examined are so complex, that no investigator, no matter how knowledgeable or creative, can study every aspect of them.

 Investigator brings to the discipline 

Each investigator brings to the discipline a particular perspective on the subject matter; that is, the investigator’s own personality, background, values, experiences, and theoretical orientation guide his or her efforts. These perspectives range from Eysenck’s strong emphasis on the inherited determinants of personality to Bandura’s stress on the ways in which social-cognitive experiences affect behavior. The upshot is that each investigator generates a particular definition of personality, along with working assumptions regarding how personality originates, develops, and operates. 

  Existence of competing theories in a scientific discipline 

Many lay people assume that the existence of competing theories in a scientific discipline indicates that the science is immature and has not accumulated a substantial body of knowledge about its subject matter (Kuhn, 1970, p. 4). However, prominent thinkers in the philosophy of science contend that it is rare for any single theory to achieve unquestioned leadership in discipline, even in the so-called mature or hard sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology (Mayr, 1994, p. 332). In fact, a theory’s scientific usefulness in solving problems is often judged by comparison with competing theories. In general, theories that are more useful and effective tend eventually to replace those that are less useful and effective (Capaldi & Proctor, 2000, p. 448).

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