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Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that measures personality and individual differences. Personality psychology has developed over a long period of time. Over the years, many personality psychologists have made varied contributions in this field. Some personality psychologists have developed their own theories while others have improved on the works of earlier ones. This paper seeks to explain the procedures and instruments used by early personality psychologists. In this paper, we will also access the contribution of the famous psychologists such as Alfred Binet, Francis Galton among others. Moreover, we will classify and ascertain the uses of some psychological tests.
Since the advent of personality psychology in the ancient times, procedures and instruments used to measure them have changed immensely. A few of the measurements and procedures have been maintained while others have been declared annulled. Most Ancient Greek philosophers and modern day psychologists have grouped personality and behavior into 4 fundamental categories. These categories are dominance, steadiness, influence and conscientious. Ancient theories suggest that there are a limited number of types of personality. They suggest that people are born with these limited personalities and develop further preference over time. A good example is the left handed preference. The most common models of traits consist of three to five factors. The ancient Greeks mainly used two factors. They classified people as either introverts or extroverts. This is quiet and physical-stimulation reluctant vs. outgoing and physical stimulation-oriented (Isabel & Peter, 2007).
Various psychologists have made significant contributions to psychological and education assessment. Alfred Binet made a great contribution to education psychology. He made use of scientific methods in psychology which includes experimenting and observing. He used both theory and experimentation in his psychological research and approach. Binet conducted an experiment on mental fatigue. In the experiment he wanted to establish whether work given to students in school was too heavy and fatiguing. Binet also initiated the notion of intelligence. He proved that intelligence is a distinct mental function (Isabel & Peter, 2007).
James Mckeen was one of the earliest developers of mental measurements. He invented the term test measurement. Galton helped in formulating the concept of intelligence. Galton believed that intelligence differs with individual differences in accuracy and speed of perceptual and sensory processes. He then developed the methods of measuring human traits. Galton is credited as the father of mental testing. Lewis Terman derived a variety of tests in his study of Genius and stupidity. Some of the tests he conducted were to measure mathematical ability, language, imagination, logical processes and inventiveness. He also introduced the concept of mental quotient. He later called this ratio intelligence quotient a term which has since been used to today. In 1919 Robert Woodworth developed the first personal data sheet. This was the first personality test in history. Edward K. strong made contributions in psychology by endeavoring to measure strong vocational interest (Santrock, 2008).
Wechsler adult intelligence scale composed of subscales and a task administered once to the subject. The three factor norms used include, scholastic aptitude test, beck depression test, armed services vocational aptitude test. To study armed services vocational interest various respondents in different vacations were used. The variation of aptitude in vocational interest with time was then observed. This study provided a series of scores. The score provided by the study is very helpful in vocational guidance. To measure scholastic aptitude the IQ was used as a standard scale. The demographically adjusted values are given on a T-score metric having a mean of a standard deviation of 10 scaled-score points and a mean score of 50. The result of the scholastic aptitude test was then used to determine the intelligence of different individuals (Santrock, 2008).