Assignment #4

Due November 18th

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In this unit you learned about the ideas of Gordon Allport and briefly, Raymond Cattell. Specifically, you learned additional ways that psychologists attempt to understand one’s personality. For Allport, you learned about “morphogenic science” and his usage of letters and diaries to examine personality, and with Cattell you learned about L, Q, and T data.  The purpose of this assignment is to apply these approaches in a personally meaningful way.  Several steps are required to complete this assignment.


1) You will take on the role of a morphogenic scientist. I will ask you to examine the data that you leave behind in order to further understand your personality. For example, read over our old/current diaries/journals if you have one, look over texts, e-mails, tweets, facebook responses, letters written, stories you wrote as a child, etc.  In reviewing this material, note any themes you might see and think to yourself, if a stranger were reviewing this material, how would that person view me?  Basically, what does all this information say about your personality.  Try to be objective.  Pretend that someone who does not know you is reading this information for the first time.  If he/she reviewed these things, how might that person view you?  Of note, try to use trait terminology when writing this section (e.g., someone reviewing this material would say that I am aggressive, kind, generous, etc.).

2)  Remember Allport’s idea regarding central dispositions.  Identify and write down 5 – 10 characteristics that you believe most represent you.  Next, select 3 -5 people in your life and ask them how they would describe you. These people can be family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, significant others, colleagues, co-workers, etc.   Write down their responses and review the information. See what if any themes/patterns emerge. Was there general agreement?  Did others see you the way you see yourself?  Also, when conducing these pseudo-interviews, note what questions you ask these people in trying to get them to describe you and why you used those questions.

3)  Write about what this experience was like for you and what you learned about yourself. You do not need to hand in your texts, e-mails, diaries, etc. I am asking you to write about how you felt reviewing these materials, what did you learn about yourself, do you think it was accurate, do you view it as a useful way to learn about someone’s personality, etc.

4)  Write about your experience in talking with others about how they view you. Write about what themes you noticed, how did it feel hearing things about yourself, what problems might you have with this approach, and do you think it was informative.

5)  For both steps 4 and 5 you can provide examples if you like about what you learned about yourself, but I realize that this is a more personal assignment than the others and you do not need to disclose anything that would make you feel uncomfortable. I want you to focus on what the experience was like fulfilling this activity, what might you have learned about yourself, and if you feel that these methods do represent valid personality measures.

Once again, I feel that the more work you put into this assignment, the better you will understand the material. Your assignment should be at least 2 -4 pages double-spaced.  Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions/concerns.

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