• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This textbook examines major theories of personality as they apply to an understanding of our past, present and future selves. Unlike traditional personality textbooks that merely present a succession of different theories, this student-centred volume examines how theories of personality have a bearing on questions that are relevant across the lifespan. A question-and-answer format invites students to approach personality psychology with an active attitude of critical inquiry in their search for objective knowledge and self-discovery. Throughout the text, students are encouraged to evaluate each theory in terms of how much it contributes to an understanding of their own personalities and lives. An instructor's manual is ava

Introduction: What is Personality?
Introduction: What is personality?

Personality is a term commonly used in everyday life. We hear statements such as “Jill has a great personality” or “Jack has no personality.” These evaluative judgments imply that Jill is outgoing and lively, fun to be around, and consistently distinctive from other people in socially pleasing ways. Jack, on the other hand, rarely expresses himself, is withdrawn and shy, and is consistently distinctive from other people in socially unpleasing ways.

Personality psychologists would agree with one implication of these descriptions of Jack and Jill's personalities: Personality refers to the distinctive characteristics of the person—characteristics that consistently manifest themselves in different situations. Wherever you meet Jill—at school, at the mall, in her home, or in the homes of others—you ...

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