Idiographic methods of psychological assessment are techniques designed to capture the unique and potentially idiosyncratic qualities of the individual. The assessor seeks to identify the constellation of psychological attributes that best characterizes the particular individual who is the target of assessment.

The idea of idiographic assessment can be contrasted with that of nomothetic assessment. Nomothetic methods (from the Greek for ‘law’, nomos, referring here to the search for universal scientific laws) characterize individuals via a fixed set of psychological variables and assessment procedures; that is, variables and procedures that do not change from one person to the next. In nomothetic assessment, a primary goal is to describe individuals in relation to the population at large; for example, people may be ranked on interindividual-difference dimensions. In ...

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