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Psychobiography

Psychobiography, or psychological biography, is the intensive psychological study of a historic person in sociocultural and historical context. Whereas biography reviews the general life pattern and achievements of an individual person, a psychobiography delves deeper, into the psychological motives and drives that led to the individual’s thinking and behavior. Psychobiography is both a specialty within the broad domain of psychology as well as a set of psychological and historiographic research procedures targeted to the intensive study of an individual person. The overwhelming majority of psychobiographies focus on deceased historic personalities, but a small percentage focus on notable individuals still living.

Evolution of Psychobiography

The antecedents of psychobiography go back to very early research and writing in biography. Plutarch’s (roughly 50–120 C.E.) study of Lives (e.g., of Aristides ...

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