Clinically, Kelly developed a psychotherapy technique called fixed-role therapy. In fixed-role therapy, the therapist asks the client to adopt a different identity for a two-week period. The client is asked to act the part of someone whose constructions and behaviors are significantly different from the client’s. Because the client is only playing a role, any threat that might occur as a result of violating one’s own personal identity are minimized. After all, the client is simply playing a part. However, in so doing the client experiments with alternative ways of construing and behaving that may produce personal growth.
Personal construct psychology has become associated with theories of ...view middle of the document...
2003. Social Constructionism. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
Gergen, Kenneth J. 1999. An Invitation to Social Construction. London: Sage.
Kelly, George A.  1991. The Psychology of Personal Constructs. 2 vols. London: Routledge.
Kelly, George A. 1969. Clinical Psychology and Personality: The Selected Papers of George Kelly. Ed. Brendan Maher. New York: Wiley.
Maturana, Humberto R., and Francisco J. Varela. 1992. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding. Rev. ed. Trans. Robert Paolucci. Boston: Shambhala.
von Glaserfeld, Ernst. 1995. Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. London: Falmer.
Jonathan D. Raskin
Personality most commonly refers to the psychological features that distinguish one individual from another—regularities in the way an individual thinks, feels, and behaves. Although other characteristics may also distinguish individuals (for example, hair color, nationality, or job title), it is the psychological differences that fall under the umbrella of personality. These differences may be broad in nature, such as whether a person is outgoing or shy, emotional or calm, or they may be narrower in scope, reflecting finer grained patterns of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that may emerge only in certain situations. A person’s total collection of these characteristics defines his or her personality.
Personality also refers to a separate subfield of psychology that uses the scientific method to investigate people’s defining characteristics—what the characteristics are, how best to measure them, and the consequences for individuals who embody them. The young field of personality psychology was influenced by several early movements of the nineteenth century, starting with the European and North American philosophical tradition of individualism. Personality psychology emerged most prominently in the 1930s with the publication of the highly influential 1937 textbook Personality: A Psychological Interpretation, written by the psychologist Gordon Allport (1897–1967). The first personality inventory was conceived during World War I to predict who would be more emotionally fit for warfare. Since that time personality psychology has continued to emphasize sound measurement to capture a variety of aspects of human personality.
LEVELS OF PERSONALITY
Given the multitude of psychological differences among people, it is helpful to organize these differences into levels. For example, the psychologist Dan McAdams (b. 1954) has organized personality at three levels.
Traits At the broadest level, individuals differ in what are called dispositional traits. Traits outline the coarsest differences among people and reflect the most general and enduring orientations on the world.
INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, 2ND EDITION 217 |
Although different traits have been proposed throughout history, the earliest of which subdivided individuals into groups based on...