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Personality Research - Essay Example

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Personality Research

What made matters worse was that scales with the same name often measure concepts that are not the same, and scales with different names often measure concepts that are quite similar. Although diversity and scientific pluralism are useful, the systematic accumulation of findings and the communication among researchers became difficult amidst the Babel of concepts and scales. In this paper, we would be discussing on the commonalities and continuing controversies in personality research.
Many personality researchers had hoped that they might devise the structure that would transform the Babel into a community speaking a common language. However, such integration was not to be achieved by any one researcher or by any one theoretical perspective. As Allport once put it, "each assessor has his own pet units and uses a pet battery of diagnostic devices" (1958, p. 258). What personality psychology needed was a descriptive model, or taxonomy, of its subject matter. One of the central goals of scientific taxonomies is the definition of overarching domains within which large numbers of specific instances can be understood in a simplified way. Thus, in personality psychology, taxonomy would permit researchers to study specified domains of personality characteristics, rather than examining separately the thousands of particular attributes that make human beings individual and unique. Moreover, a generally accepted taxonomy would greatly facilitate the accumulation and communication of empirical findings by offering a standard vocabulary, or nomenclature. After decades of research, the field is approaching consensus on a general taxonomy of personality traits, the "Big Five" personality dimensions. These dimensions do not represent a particular theoretical perspective but were derived from analyses of the natural-language terms people use to describe themselves and others. Rather than replacing all previous systems, the Big Five taxonomy serves an integrative function because it can represent the various and diverse systems of personality description in a common framework . It thus provides a starting place for vigorous research and theorizing that can eventually lead to an explication and revision of the descriptive taxonomy in causal and dynamic terms.


Literature Review

In this paper, we would first review the history of the Big Five, including the discovery of the five dimensions, research replicating and extending the model, its convergence with research in the questionnaire tradition, and the development of several instruments to measure the Big Five. Then, we would compare three of the most frequently used instruments and report data regarding their reliability and convergent validity.

Commonalities or the Lexical Approach
One starting place for a shared taxonomy is the natural language of personality description. Beginning with Klages (1926), Baumgarten (1933), and Allport and Odbert (1936), various psychologists have turned to the natural language as a source of attributes for a scientific taxonomy. This work, beginning with the extraction of all personality-relevant terms from the dictionary, has generally been guided by the lexical approach (John et al., 1988, pp.171-203; Saucier & ...Show more

Summary

Personality has been conceptualized from a variety of theoretical perspectives, and at various levels of abstraction or breadth (John, Hampson, & Goldberg, 1991, pp.348-361; McAdams, 1995, pp.365-396). Each of these levels has made unique contributions to our understanding of individual differences in behavior and experience…
Author : benjaminpollich
Personality Research essay example
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