Trait theory and personal construct theory have markedly different approaches to the understanding of individual differences. Outline these approaches and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each. What consequences does each approach have for understanding agency – structure dualism?
This paper commences with a brief overview of two competing influential theories that attempt to account for individual differences within the area of personality and intelligence. These are namely; Eysenck’s and Rachman’s Trait Theory (1965) and Geoerge Kelly’s Personal Construct theory, represented here through Salmon’s Phenomenological reworking of Kelly’s ideas in her approach to learning ( 2003) Following from which is
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In his critic of psychometric testing Richards makes the statement that ‘ not everything that can be measured necessarily exists ( Richards 2002) yet for Eysneck’s personality inventory this appears not to be the case. Indeed a strength of Eysneck’s s trait theory has been its ability to measure and classify individuals in order to identify and position individuals most effectively amongst a stratified society. As seen in the intentions behind the emergence of The Psychological Corporation (1922, cited in Hollway p.8) the application of psychometrics into the field of business in the aftermath of the first world war was to enhance and serve the workforce . Again Bogardus’(1933) ‘Social distance scale’, developed in 1920s at a time of a great influx in immigration from Europe to America proved a useful tool in measuring and gauging the attitudes of home nationals to the impending immigrants. One can begin to see the power inherent in the ability to measure and classify. Richards point is a valid and important one, that would encourage one to critically evaluate the assumed underlying and enduring attributes that methods such as Eysneck’s purport to measure- and indeed not only Eysneck’s methods but the objectifiable