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Personality psychology: Lexical approaches, assessment methods, and trait concepts reveal only half of the story—Why it is time for a paradigm shift

Personality psychology: Lexical approaches, assessment methods, and trait concepts reveal only half of the story—Why it is time for a paradigm shift

Uher, Jana ORCID: 0000-0003-2450-4943 (2013) Personality psychology: Lexical approaches, assessment methods, and trait concepts reveal only half of the story—Why it is time for a paradigm shift. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 47 (1). pp. 1-55. ISSN 1932-4502 (Print), 1936-3567 (Online) (doi:10.1007/s12124-013-9230-6)

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Abstract

This article develops a comprehensive philosophy-of-science for personality psychology that goes far beyond the scope of the lexical approaches, assessment methods, and trait concepts that currently prevail. One of the field’s most important guiding scientific assumptions, the lexical hypothesis, is analysed from meta-theoretical viewpoints to reveal that it explicitly describes two sets of phenomena that must be clearly differentiated: 1) lexical repertoires and the representations that they encode and 2) the kinds of phenomena that are represented. Thus far, personality psychologists largely explored only the former, but have seriously neglected studying the latter. Meta-theoretical analyses of these different kinds of phenomena and their distinct natures, commonalities, differences, and interrelations reveal that personality psychology’s focus on lexical approaches, assessment methods, and trait concepts entails a) erroneous meta-theoretical assumptions about what the phenomena being studied actually are, and thus how they can be analysed and interpreted, b) that contemporary personality psychology is largely based on everyday psychological knowledge, and c) a fundamental circularity in the scientific explanations used in trait psychology. These findings seriously challenge the widespread assumptions about the causal and universal status of the phenomena described by prominent personality models. The current state of knowledge about the lexical hypothesis is reviewed, and implications for personality psychology are discussed. Ten desiderata for future research are outlined to overcome the current paradigmatic fixations that are substantially hampering intellectual innovation and progress in the field.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2013. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: personality, meta-theory, methodology, lexical hypothesis, lexical approach, traits, personality assessment, philosophy of science, big five model, five factor model
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2017 17:24
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/18184

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