Multidisciplinary Approaches to Personality

After agreeing to prepare a chapter about "attitude patterns (character)" for the first handbook of social psychology (Murchison & Allee, 1935), Allport (1934) objected that he could not cover "the broad field of personality" - the term he was preferred "Character " - In the chapter about attitudes (Allport, 1935). But in 1934, personality has not been recognized as a separate psychology sub-field, and the first handbook of personality (Borgatta & Lambert, 1968) will not appear for decades. 

Apart from the initial efforts of Allport to promote "Personality" (eg., Allport & Vernon, 1930, p. 677), psychologists generally continue to view personality as the topic of abnormal psychology or social psychology - at that time widely interpreted as including covering The area which includes as included including the broad which includes including the broad covering which includes including the broad including broad which includes broadly includes what becomes a separate subfield of clinical psychology, development, industry, personality, and social Until the late 1930s, when the text by Allport (1937), Stagner (1937), and Murray (1938) signaled the new Subfield consolidation (Barenbaum, 2000). But the emergence of "personality psychology" gradually is far from an indicator of indifference to personality topics. 

Early in the 20th century seeing the growth of popular interests that live in personality and increase the attention of scholars in many disciplines, each of them put personality claims while proposing different concept definitions and promoting various study methods (Barenbaum & Winter, 2003; Danziger, 1990; Nicholson, 2003). 

The diversity of the theoretical and methodological approaches has contributed to a number of themes and controversies that have survived, or emerged regularly in various forms, throughout the history of personality psychology. In particular, we test the difference between research on general dimensions and personality processes, usually carried out with groups of participants, and research on unique people who seek to understand the thematic coherence of individual life. 

We consider a shorter question about the consistency and debate of people -situations, relative contributions of biological and environmental factors to personality, and the search for personality models that integrate several units of analysis. 

Historical root analysis of personality psychology can provide insight into this problem and into an approach that is currently prominent in the field. We begin by looking at multidisciplinary studies of personality in the United States that precede the formation of personality psychology.

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Personality 

To understand the history of American personality psychology, it is important to examine the broader cultural and institutional contexts that influenced the emergence of psychological approaches to personality in the early decades of the 20th century (Danziger, 1990, 1997; Nicholson, 2003; Parker, 1991). These contexts included developments not only in psychology, but also in the larger culture and in neighboring disciplines that adopted different investigative practices and perspectives on personality. We discuss first the popular “culture of personality” (Susman, 1979, p. 216), then consider psychiatry and sociology, two disciplines recognized for their use of case study and life history methods in personality research. In contrast, we consider several factors that interacted to promote and maintain psychologists’ interest in personality, their emphasis on psychometric methods, and their ambivalence toward studies of individual personalities.

"Personality Culture"

Experiencing a rapid social change associated with industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and mass education in the early 20th century, many Americans responded to depersonalization concerns.

Psychiatry and Psychopathology

Before the 1920s, the term "personality" was used in the United States in the writings of religion and ethics and somewhat later in the discussion of abnormal psychology, which is considered a province of psychiatric medical specialization rather than the psychology area (Parker, 1991).


During the 1920s and 1930s, personality was an important focus among sociologists, whose research on social adjustment and social roles used their close collaboration with social workers (Platt, 1996). In 1921, "personality" emerged as the main category used to classify abstracts published in the American Journal of Sociology, as well as subcategories for biography, case studies, life history, and psychoanalysis ("Latest Literature," 1921).

American Psychology

The 1920s and 1930s were intense psychological research on personality. Trying to claim personality as the right psychological topic and to build their professional expertise, psychologists distinguish their own research not only from popular literature about personality but also from personality research in other disciplines.

  • Psychometric Study of Scientific Ethos About Personality Reflecting the efforts of psychologists to follow in the footsteps of the right "knowledge" prestigious that had developed rapidly at the end of the 19th century.
  • Institutional Support in the 1920s saw an increase in institutional support in the form of journals, chapters of textbooks, courses, and conference sessions specifically for personality. In 1921, Social Psychologist Floyd Allport joined Morton Prince's psychopathology as a count of the newly expanded Journal of Psychology and Social Psychology.
  • Practical demands of the success of psychologists with mental tests during World War I promoted their interest in developing an efficient "scientific" test for selection, diagnosis, and placement to meet the practical needs of industry, educational institutions, and social agents (eg., Danziger, 1990 ).
  • Professional concerns Although psychologists recognize multidisciplinary perspective values ​​in people who are always (eg., Murphy & Jensen, 1932), they are also concerned about claiming personality as an object that is very suitable for psychological studies and by expressing their special expertise in developing scientific and scientific and with scientific and scientific and scientifically and scientifically in their development and scientific and scientific and scientific and scientific in their scientific and scientific and scientific in developing their scientific and scientific and scientific in developing their scientific and scientific and scientific in scientific and they're scientific in their scientific and scientific development in their scientific and scientific development in scientific and scientific development in scientific development and scientifically in scientific development and by declaring scientific and


John, O. P., Robins, R. W., & Pervin, L. A. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of personality: Theory and research. Guilford Press.

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