Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 390
Personality system/Saucier: A very different approach ((s) different from the >lexical approach/lexical studies) to defining personality focuses on the underlying system that drives or generates the set of personality attributes. Good examples are definitions by Cloninger (2000,(1) p. 3): ‘the underlying causes within the person of individual behaviour and experience’; by Pervin (1996(2), p. 414): ‘the complex organization of cognitions, affects, and behaviours that gives direction and pattern (coherence) to the person’s life’; and by Mayer (2007(3), p. 14; cf., Wundt 1896/1969(4), p. 26): ‘the organized, developing system within the individual that represents the collective action of that individual’s major psychological subsystems.’ On this view, personality is not a set of predications (i.e., attributes) that are clearly represented in language, but instead a set of mechanisms that may operate differently from one individual to another. >Personality/Saucier, >Definition/Saucier, >Attributes/Saucier, >Lexical Studies/Saucier.

Corr I 393
Contents/personality system/Saucier: The contents of a culture as seen by Goodenough (1981)(5); >Culture/Goodenough) may also be the key components of personality, but only if we think of personality in the sense of mindset or personality system:
(a) forms (categories, concepts, ideas), up to
(b) propositions, up to
(c) beliefs. Personal values
(d) are those personal beliefs associated with inner feeling states, wants, felt needs, interests, and with maximizing gratification and minimizing frustration.
(e) rules and public values – systems that set out rules, codes, duties, obligations, rights, privileges and standards of fairness;
(f) recipes (known procedural requirements for accomplishing a purpose, as in how-to and etiquette guides);
(g) routines and customs; and finally
(h) institutions that organize and systematize units (e) through (g).
Saucier: features of cultural systems are internalized in individuals, and features of personality systems continually impact the cultural systems.



1. Cloninger, S. C. 2000. Theories of personality: understanding persons, 3rd edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall
2. Pervin, L. A. 1996. The science of personality. New York: Wiley
3. Mayer, J. D. 2007. Personality: a systems approach. Boston: Pearson
4. Wundt, W. M. 1896/1969. Outlines of psychology (C. H. Judd (trans.)). New York: G. E. Stechert. Originally published in German in 1896



Gerard Saucier, „Semantic and linguistic aspects of personality“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Saucier, Gerald
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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