Are each of us unique or predisposed to live our lives according to predetermined generalities predicted by decades of research on human behaviour? Or do we possess free will and degrees of freedom from which we can choose our own destiny? This double-lecture download introduces the concept of social cognition and personality theory as a way to study human behaviour through examining social interaction as a function of the dynamic between the self and other. The theories, issues, and studies examined centre on two key debates to understanding all human behaviour: (i) is human behaviour situation or disposition based? and (ii) how can it be that individuals are unique if we can psychologically predict and prescribe behaviour by extricating general principles through the study of social behaviour?
Taking a tour through theories of personality set out to resolve these debates, the lectures critically examine interactionist theories, contextual theories, and specifically contemporary theories focused on traits and their underpinning biological determinants as core to any theory of personality. The theories are compared and contrasted for strengths and weaknesses, and the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality is detailed and comprehensively critically evaluated. The lecture series ends with an overview of the discussion and critique of how personality theory can be construed (or not) as a science. You can download the lecture by clicking on the link below:
Cowley, M. (2017), The Individual & Society: The Psychology of the Self as Individual – Critiquing Contemporary Personality Theory. To appear in the Cognitive Social Science eJournal, vol. 9, Issue 102: Aug 2017.
Posted by Michelle B. Cowley PGDipStat BA DPhil – RSS Fellow, Aug 01 2017