Personality Psychology- an Integrative Essay

712 Words Sep 19th, 2008 3 Pages
Traditionally personality has been framed largely into multiple grand theories: psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung), humanistic theories (Rogers, Maslow), social-learning theories (Bandura, Mischel), cognitive-phenomenological theories (Kelly, Laing), trait theories (Eysenck, Cattell, the Big Five), narrative (McAdams, Bruner) and so on. However Personality psychology is yet to articulate clearly a comprehensive framework for understanding the whole person. This essay will attempt to provide a summary of McAdams integrative approach to personality with three different levels: dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations and narrative.

McAdams proposed that evolution provides the general design for psychological individuality against which
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What do people want? What do they value? How do people seek out what they want and avoid what they fear? In particular the humanist perspective, influenced greatly by the work of prominent humanists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, emphasizes the role of motivation on thought and behaviour. Concepts such as self-actualization are an essential part of this perspective, conceptualised by a hierarchy of needs each level both independent and interdependent of the next. If traits sketch an outline of human individuality, characteristic adaptations fill in some of the details.

McAdams final level is that of integrative life narratives. Narrative approaches to personality suggest that human beings construe their own lives as ongoing stories and that these life stories help to shape behavior, establish identity, and integrate individuals into modern social life Narrative identity is indeed that story the person tries to “keep going”—an internalized and evolving narrative of the self that incorporates the reconstructed past and the imagined future into a more or less coherent whole in order to provide the person’s life with some degree of unity, purpose, and meaning.

The psychosocial construction of narrative identity moves personality from broad trends (dispositional traits) and the specific responses to daily life demands (characteristic adaptations) to the challenge of making meaning out of one’s life in a complex world. Dispositional traits play the