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Personology Chapter 1 Cheat Sheet by

Introduction to understanding personalities theory. This is a breif summary of Chapter 1, Personolgy from the textbook Personology: From individual to ecosystem by C Moore, HG Viljoen, WF Meyer.


Person­ology- the branch of psychology that focuses on the study of the indivi­dual's charac­ter­istics and of differ­ences between people
Allows us to re-examine our thinking about human functi­oning, and could very well leave us with a better unders­tanding of our own and others’ functi­oning.

Person­ology and Everyday Knowledge of Human Nature

Everyday knowledge of human nature- the ability to judge, unders­tand, explain and predict behaviour of fellow human beings.
Ability to judge people depends on four sources:
1. Cultural Tradition
2. Direct commun­ication from others
3. Observ­ation of others' behaviour
4. Self-o­bse­rvation
Person­olo­gists aim at improving such everyday knowledge about people by basing their theories on scientific methods.
Person­ality Theory- the outcome of a purpos­eful, sustained effort to develop a logically consistent conceptual system for descri­bing, explaining and/or predicting human behaviour.

The Complexity of Human and their Behaviour

Human behaviour is a highly complex phenomenon that is determined by a wide range of interd­epe­ndent factors such as:
1. Biological factors
2. Enviro­nmental circum­stances
3. Social factors such as people's expect­ations, social milieu and culture
4. Psycho­logical and spiritual factors
A complete descri­ption and explan­ation of behaviour would only be possible on the basis of a thorough unders­tanding of all the factors which determine behaviour, including the complex ways in which these factors interact with one another.

Key Concepts

Person- an individual human being who can act indepe­ndently
Person­ality- the constantly changing but nevert­heless relatively stable organi­sation of all physical, psycho­logical and spiritual charac­ter­istics of the individual that determine his or her behaviour in intera­ction with the context.
Character- those aspects of the person­ality involving the person’s values.
Temper­ame­nt/­nature- emotional aspects of the person­ality.
The self- is used in so many different ways that it is not possible to provide a single defini­tion. It is sometimes used to refer to:
a. People’s views of themse­lves;
b. At other times it is a synonym for person­ality;
c. The core of person­ality;
d. Many other aspects of the person­ality

Person­ality, Situation and Behaviour

Personism- the view that behaviour is influenced chiefly by the indivi­dual’s person­ality.
Situat­ion­alism- the view that the situation is the most important determ­inant of behaviour.
Intera­cti­onalism- the view that behaviour is the outcome of the intera­ction between the indivi­dual’s charac­ter­istics and the situation in which the behaviour occurred.
Transa­cti­onalism- the issues involved are even more complex, the intera­ction is invariably threefold: between the person, the situation and the behaviour.

Person­ality Theories: A Systematic Overview

Depth Psycho­logical Approaches
Depth psycho­logists contend that behaviour is determined by forces within the person of which he or she is mostly unaware.
Behavi­oural and Learning Theore­tical Approaches
They emphasise the study of observable behaviour and consider learning and enviro­nmental influences to be the most important determ­inants of behaviour.
Person­-or­iented Approaches
The theorists in this group try to include and explain all aspects of the person in their theories.
Social­ly-­con­tex­tua­lised Approaches
Indivi­duals can only be understood as parts of the complex totality of more encomp­assing systems in which they are embedded.


Contains useful background inform­ation for the unders­tanding of a particular theory.
a. The historical background to the theories,
b. Biogra­phical inform­ation about the theorists,
c. The social and philos­ophical influences the theorists were subjected to
d. Influences arising from the theories.

The View of the Person Underlying the Theory

The theorist’s view of what is common to all people.
For a theorist to be able to describe and explain human behaviour adequa­tely, he or she must have certain opinions about or answers to such basic questions like:
*What is the meaning of life?
* What are human beings primary concerns
* What is their behaviour directed towards?
* What is the human being’s place in the overall scheme of the world?

The Structure of the Person­ality

The hypoth­etical basic units or working parts that make up the person­ality, and that work together in some way to produce behaviour.

The Dynamics of the Person­ality

A person­ality theory has to explain what enables the person­ality to function or what motivates behaviour.
A theory should explain the motivating energy, or what provides the drive in behaviour and how the parts ‘work together’.

The Develo­pment of the Person­ality

When a person­ality theory includes a complete develo­pmental theory, it usually explains how the structural and dynamic aspects of the person develop and how children’s behaviour gradually changes until they reach adulthood.

Optimal Develo­pment

The theorist’s basic view of the person and indicates what he or she regards as optimal human develo­pment or as the full realis­ation of one’s life goals.

Views on Psycho­pat­hology

Explain how a psycho­log­ica­lly­-di­sturbed person differs from a mentally healthy person and how psycho­pat­hology develops.

The Interp­ret­ation and Handling of Aggression

The implic­ations of the theori­es/­per­spe­cti­ves­/ap­pro­aches for unders­tanding and dealing with aggression are also examined in some depth.
The aim of this is:
1. To discuss the same theme/­topic in terms of all the various theore­tical perspe­ctives, and in this way to point out the simila­rities and differ­ences between the perspe­ctives.
2. To invest­igate the relevance of person­ology with regard to current social problems in South Africa

Implic­ations and Applic­ations

Person­ality theories contain useful inform­ation for every indivi­dual’s own life, and may help people to develop their abilities and to understand themselves and others.
Particular attention is given to the implic­ations and applic­ations of the theories in the context of areas such as education, psycho­the­rapy, society in general, measur­ement and research.

Evaluation of the Theory

Highlights the most important positive and negative features of these theories.


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