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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 Structure of the Person­ality


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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