Skip to main content

Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of personal construct theory’s contribution to our understanding of individual differences in personality

Milton, Damian (2010) Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of personal construct theory’s contribution to our understanding of individual differences in personality. Open University. (Unpublished)

Abstract

The topic of ‘individual differences’ in personality has fascinated psychologists since the inception of the subject and indeed within philosophy for thousands of years. Throughout history, personality was conceived of in terms of ‘types’, perhaps the earliest being those of Hippocrates in Ancient Greece, who divided people into categories: choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic and sanguine; based upon a scientifically naïve notion of an excess or lack of ‘bodily humours’. Butt (2007) explains how contemporary theories regarding individual differences in personality grew from three dominant psychological traditions: Experimental, Psychometric and Clinical. All of these strands of thought are interested in the individual differences that people express, in terms of behaviour and what is commonly perceived as ‘personality’. The experimental tradition, often argued to be the dominant one within 20th century psychology began with behaviourist theories, before being surpassed by cognitive theories in the latter half of the century. The psychometric tradition originated in attempts to measure cognitive abilities such as intelligence, establishing ‘traits’, ways in which individuals could be said to differ from one another. This essay however, concentrates on the challenge to these theories made by Personal Construct Theory (PCT), which developed from within the clinical tradition and the work of George Kelly (1955, cited in Salmon, 2003). PCT will be contrasted with the work of Eysenck and Rachman (1965) who exemplify the psychometric tradition of ‘trait theories’, in order to tease out the strengths and weaknesses of adopting a PCT position, in terms of both its underlying theory and methodological applications.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled keywords: PCT, Personality, Psychometric, Discourse
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 16:44 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:16 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/62725 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Milton, Damian: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3825-6194
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year