Dictionary of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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The author or concept searched is found in the following 8 entries.
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Entry
Reference
Allport Lamiell Corr I 73/74
Allport/personality traits/Lamiell: Allport (1937)(1) argued that person characterization must somehow be possible outside of the framework of common traits. After all, he reasoned, psychologists working in non-research settings, e.g., as counsellors or clinicians, face daily the challenge of characterizing their clients in ways often peculiar to each one of them individually, and hence not necessarily on the basis of considerations about how that client compares with others along some pre-specified dimension(s) presumed applicable to all (‘common traits’). Within the mainstream, Allport’s arguments along this line were widely (and sometimes harshly) dismissed, e.g. LundbergVsAllport Lundberg 1941(2), p.383.
SarbinVsAllport: Sarbin 1944(3), p. 214. …“ Either they are making statistical predictions in an informal, subjective, and uncontrolled way, or else they are performing purely verbal manipulations which are unverifiable and akin to magic.”
LamiellVsTradition: see >Measurement/traits/Lamiell.
Corr I 79
Allport/Lamiell: Allport’s conjectures (…) might well merit the serious consideration they never received in his lifetime. The findings of several investigations carried out by the present author in collaboration with various colleagues offer substantial empirical support for this view (Lamiell and Durbeck 1987(4); Lamiell, Foss, Larsen and Hempel 1983(5); Lamiell, Foss, Trierweiler and Leffel 1983(6)).

1. Allport, G. W. 1937. Personality: a psychological interpretation. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
2. Lundberg, G. A. 1941. Case-studies vs. statistical methods: an issue based on misunderstanding, Sociometry 4: 379–83
3. Sarbin, T. R. 1944. The logic of prediction in psychology, Psychological Review 51: 210–28
4. Lamiell, J. T. and Durbeck, P. 1987. Whence cognitive prototypes in impression formation? Some empirical evidence for dialectical reasoning as a generative process, Journal of Mind and Behaviour 8: 223–44
5. Lamiell, J. T., Foss, M. A., Larsen, R. J. and Hempel, A. 1983. Studies in intuitive personology from an idiothetic point of view: implications for personality theory, Journal of Personality 51: 438–67
6. Lamiell, J. T., Foss, M. A., Trierweiler, S. J. and Leffel, G. M. 1983. Toward a further understanding of the intuitive personologist: some preliminary evidence for the dialectical quality of subjective personality impressions, Journal of Personality 53: 213–35


James T. Lamiell, “The characterization of persons: some fundamental conceptual issues”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009 The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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
Concepts Allport Corr I 95/96
Concepts/personality traits/lexicon/lexical approach/Allport/Deary: worried that traits might be loaded with the conventional meanings of the words allocated to them and that ‘It would be ideal if we could . . . find our traits first and then name them’ (Allport 1931(1) p. 371). Of course he also stated that the words might actually represent the true traits but, on the other hand, the ‘conventional meanings . . . [might lead us] away from the precise integration as it exists in the given individual’ (1931, p. 371). DearyVsAllport: Allport wanted to have his lexical cake and eat it here, and also begs the most profound question. He explicitly seems to recognize that our likeliest road into traits is from language terms. However, he hints at but does not directly address how one might craft a research programme to get at ‘the precise integration as it exists in the given individual’. Cf. >concepts/psychological theories.


1. Allport, G. W. 1931. What is a trait of personality?. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 25: 368–72

Ian J. Deary, “The trait approach to personality”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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
Person Lamiell Corr I 72
Person/Variables/personality psychology/psychological theories/LamiellVsTradition/Lamiell: notions like “school”, “work”, “personal relationships” on one hand and “nature”/”nurture” on the other hand have long been the objects of the mainstream research and still are. Unfortunately, this entire enterprise has been predicated on the notion that our scientific understanding of the behaviour/psychological functioning of individuals can be advanced through the systematic investigation of variables representing individual differences (Lamiell 1987(1);1997(2);2003(3)) Tradition/Lamiell: mainstream thinkers still stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the mistakenness of this notion (see e.g., recent articles by McAdams and Pals 2006(4); and by McAdams 2007(5); also Hofstee 2007(6)). LamiellVsMcAdams, LamiellVsPals, LamiellVsHofstee.
Person characterization/Lamiell: what, exactly, do statements about the personality characteristics of an individual entail? What is implied when someone is called “highly” extraverted?
For the variables “school”, “work”, “personal relationships” on one hand and “nature”/”nurture” on the other hand see Epstein 1983(7).
LamiellVsEpstein. See also LundbergVsAllport, SarbinVsAllport: >Allport/Lamiell.
LamiellVsTradition: see >Measurement/traits/Lamiell.


1. Lamiell, J. T. 1987. The psychology of personality: an epistemological inquiry. New York: Columbia University Press
2. Lamiell, J. T. 1997. Individuals and the differences between them, in R. Hogan, J. Johnson and S. Briggs (eds.), Handbook of personality psychology, psychology, pp. 117–41. New York: Academic Press
3. Lamiell, J. T. 2003. Beyond individual and group differences: human individuality, scientific psychology, and William Stern’s critical personalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
4. McAdams, D. P. and Pals, J. L. 2006. A new Big Five: fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality, American Psychologist 61: 204–17
5. McAdams, D. P. 2007. On grandiosity in personality psychology, American Psychologist 62: 60–1 (comment)
6. Hofstee, W. K. B. 2007. Unbehagen in individual differences: a review, Journal of Individual Differences 28: 252–3
7. Epstein, S. 1983. Aggregation and beyond: some basic issues in the prediction of behaviour, Journal of Personality 51: 360–92, p. 381.


James T. Lamiell, “The characterization of persons: some fundamental conceptual issues”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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
Personality Allport Corr I 4
Personality/Allport: Gordon Allport (1937)(1) defined personality as ‘the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to the environment’ (Allport 1937,p.48).
I 5
McAdamsVsAllport/PalsVsAllport: A definition that gives a modern twist to this personological integration is offered by McAdams and Pals (2006)(2), who define personality as ‘an individual’s unique variation on the general evolutionary design for human nature, expressed as a developing pattern of dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations, and integrative life stories complexly and differentially situated in culture’ (McAdams and Pals 2006(2), p. 212). The emphasis on dynamics and development in these two personological definitions reminds us that some theories emphasize function and change, in contrast to the typically more static trait emphasis on description.

1. Allport, G. W. 1937. Personality: a psychological interpretation. New York: Holt, p. 48.
2. McAdams, D. P. and Pals, J. L. 2006. A new Big Five: fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality, American Psychologist 61: 204–17

Susan Cloninger, “Conceptual issues in personality theory”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.



Corr I 43
Personality/Allport/AsendorpfVsAllport: Allport (1937) owed most of his ideas to Stern (1911) (1)
1. Stern, W. 1911. Die Differentielle Psychologie in ihren methodischen Grundlagen [Methodological foundations of differential psychology]. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth


Jens B. Asendorpf, “Personality: Traits and situations”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.



Corr I 380
Personality/Allport/Saucier: Allport (1937)(1): ‘personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment’ (1937, p. 48). Saucier: Allport called this a ‘biophysical’ conception. It focused on ‘what an individual is regardless of the manner in which other people perceive his qualities or evaluate them’ (1937, p. 40). Phrasings like ‘within the individual’ and ‘systems that determine’ reveal an emphasis on the underlying mechanisms behind behaviour.


1. Allport, G. W. 1937. Personality: a psychological interpretation. New York: Holt


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


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
Personality Traits Allport Corr II 29
Trait-names/personality traits/lexicon/study background/ Allport/Odbert/Saucier: The essence of [Allport’s and Odbert’s article ‘Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study’] was a classification of (…) English ‘trait-name’ words (terms distinguishing the behavior of one human being from another) into four categories. (…) from a scientific standpoint, some of the most basic personality attributes might be discovered from studying conceptions implicit in use of the natural language. If a distinction is highly represented in the lexicon – and found in any dictionary – it can be presumed to have practical importance. This is because the degree of representation of an attribute in language has some correspondence with the general importance of the attribute in real-world transactions. Therefore, when a scientist identifies personality attributes that are strongly represented in the natural language, that scientist is simultaneously identifying what may be the most important attributes.
II 30
Study Design/Allport/Odbert: Allport and Odbert turned to Webster’s New International Dictionary (1925)(1), a compendium of approximately 400,000 separate terms. Combining judgments of three investigators (themselves plus a person designated only as ‘AL’, (…)), they built a list of 17,953 trait-names in the English language that drew on the following criterion for inclusion: ‘the capacity of any term to distinguish the behavior of one human being from that of another’ (p. 24) (1). Allport and Odbert went further and differentiated terms into four categories or columns. The (…) terms in Column I were ‘neutral terms designating possible
II 31
personal traits’ (p. 38)(1), more specifically defined as ‘generalized and personalized determining tendencies – consistent and stable modes of an individual’s adjustment’ to his/her environment (p. 26)(1). The (…) terms in Column II were ‘terms primarily descriptive of temporary moods or activities’ (…). The (…) terms in Column III were ‘weighted terms conveying social and characterial judgments of personal conduct, or designated influence on others’ (p. 27)(1) (…).The other (…) terms fell into the miscellaneous category in Column IV, labeled as ‘metaphorical and doubtful terms’ (p. 38)(1). This last grab-bag category included terms describing physical characteristics and various abilities (…).
II 33
Findings/Allport/Odbert: 1. Allport and Odbert cogently argue that, basically, normal human life cannot proceed without some reference to personality dispositions. There is no better argument than their trenchant words from the monograph: “Even the psychologist who inveighs against traits, and denies that their symbolic existence conforms to ‘real existence’ will nevertheless write a convincing letter of recommendation to prove that one of his favorite students is ‘trustworthy, self-reliant, and keenly critical’” (pp. 4–5)(1).
2. Allport and Odbert indicate that the dispositions to which trait-names refer are more than conversational artifact, a form of everyday error (though in part they may be that). They are to some degree useful for understanding and prediction, as confirmed by later research (Roberts et al., 2007)(3). [The follow-on assertion constitutes that] the degree of representation of an attribute in language has some correspondence with the general importance of the attribute in real-world transactions.
II 34
3. (…) science can lean on and build on the body of commonsense concepts in language. Rather than relying exclusively on the top-down gambits of theorists, there is opportunity for a generative bottom-up approach.
II 35
4. (…) Allport and Odbert recognized a difficulty inherent in personality language: trait-names mean different things to different people. To a degree, these meanings are contingent on one’s ‘habits of thought’ (p. 4)(1). One reason builds on the polysemy (multiple distinct meanings) that many words have. 5. Within science, the difficulty might be even further resolved by explicit communication and consensus. For Allport and Odbert, this meant naming traits in a careful and logical way, and not merely codifying but also ‘purifying’ natural-language terminology (p. vi)(1).
II 36
6. Allport and Odbert’s prime interest was in tendencies that are ‘consistent and stable modes of an individual’s adjustment to his environment’ rather than ‘merely temporary and specific behavior’ (p. 26)(1). 7. (…) trait-names reflect a combination of the biophysical influences and something more cultural (perhaps historically varying). (…) characterizations of human qualities are determined partly by ‘standards and interests peculiar to the times’ (p. 2)(1) in a particular social epoch. [In this way] culture, trait-names are partly ‘invented in accordance with cultural demands’ (p. 3)(1).
II 37
VsAllport/VsOdbert:
1. (…) they ignore and give short-shrift to culture, both with regard to issues of cross-cultural generalizability and of how traits themselves may reflect culture-relevant contents. 2. According to their distinctive ‘trait hypothesis’ (p. 12), no two persons ‘possess precisely the same trait’ (p. 14)(1) and each ‘individual differs in every one of his traits from every other individual’ (p. 18)(1). The problem is not that individualism is wrong; rather, it may be ethnocentric to impose an individualistic filter throughout personality psychology, and in fact such idiothetic approaches are outside the mainstream of current and recent personality psychology.
II 38
3. Another aspect of the thinking (…) that might appear odd, in retrospect, is the notion of a single, cardinal trait that provides determining tendencies in an individual life. (…) a particular attribute becomes so pervasive in a person that it becomes a distinct focus of organization. Seventy years later, there seems still to be a lack of evidence for cardinal traits that perform a more or less hostile take-over, coming to determine and structure the remainder of the personality system.
II 39
4. Allport and Odbert argue for the desirability of neutral terminology in science. Unfortunately, it appears that they extend the desire for unweighted emotion-free vocabulary into the very attribute-contents evident in the trait-names in language, with confusing consequences. On this view, the trait-names in language that are judgmental and ‘emotionally toned’ (p. v)(1), having affective polarity, are suspect and less worthy of study than the neutral ones. But affectively toned concepts like evil and virtue are particularly worthy of study particularly because of their extreme affective tone (…).
II 40
5. (…) the numerically largest category of trait-names was social evaluation. However, they offer no account for why the third column – reflecting social judgments likely unconnected with biophysical traits – would be the biggest component in person perception. 6. (…) the notion that censorial and moral terms – and virtues,
II 41
vices, whatever is associated with blame or praise, not to mention social effects – have no use for a psychologist seems now obsolete. 7. To accept at face value the particular Allport and Odbert classification of trait-names into four categories is to take on the assumptions of a specialized theory of traits, whose main propositions can be construed based on the classification itself. (…) attention to emotions and morality would distract us from the central aspects of personality which reflect enduring consistencies operating intrinsically in the person, and outside the influence of society (…).


1. Webster’s new international dictionary of the English language (1925). Springfield, MA: Merriam.
2. Allport, G. W., & Odbert, H. S. (1936). Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study. Psychological Monographs, 47 (1, Whole No. 211).
3. Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 313–345.


Saucier, Gerard: “Classification of Trait-Names Revisiting Allport and Odbert (1936)”, In: Philip Corr (Ed.), 2018. Personality and Individual Differences. Revisiting the classical studies. Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne: Sage, pp. 29-45.


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
Robbers Cave Experiment Psychological Theories Haslam I 153
Robbers Cave Experiment/Sherif/Psychological theories: Sherif and his colleagues were able to create psychologically meaningful groups (e.g., with a history, norms and internal status relations) and to demonstrate systematically the profound impact that variations in relationships both within and between the groups had on psychology and behaviour. Tajfel: behaviour. In so doing, they were ‘able to recreate many phenomena … usually associated with long-term complex social and historical developments’ (Tajfel, 1978(1): 435).
Conclusions from the experiments (Sherif and Sherif 1969(2):
A.
Groups: have a material reality including roles and status relationships
Relationships: will vary dynamically with the nature of intragroup members identifying with the group
Groups: have a psychological validity, with members identifying with the group
Intergroup attitudes: are psychological meaningful outcomes of the nature of intergroup relations
Competition: intergroup competition for limited resources causes negative intergroup impressions
Cooperation: between groups for compelling superordinate goals will have a cumulative effect in reducing intergroup hostility
Contact: intergroup contact alone ist not sufficient to reduce intergroup hostility.
Haslam I 154
TraditionVsSherif: psychological theories prior to Sherif’s studies had assumed that groups in fact do not exist. E. g., Groups/Allport: Thesis: the only material reality lies at the level of the individual (Allport 1924)(3).
SherifVsAllport/SherifVsTradition: the Boys’ Camp studies demonstrated unequivocally the presence and importance of social-psychological variables that exist only at the conceptual level of the group. >Robbers Cave Experiment/Sherif, >Social groups/Sherif.
B.
Members: groups have substantive psychological meaning and significance for their members. The boys in the studies identified strongly with their groups. These groups were psychologically real, engaging and self-defining.
Haslam I 157
(…) since Sherif developed his theoretical analysis, researchers have gone on to clarify its ability to explain such things as rapid changes in the onset and dissipation of intergroup discrimination, and the process by which ingroup love evolves into outgroup hate (Brewer, 1999(4); Brown et al., 1986(5); Struch and Schwartz, 1989(6)).


1. Tajfel, H. (ed.) (1978) Differentiation Between Social Groups: Studies in the Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. London: Academic Press.
2. Sherif, M. and Sherif, C.W. (1969) Social Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.

3. Allport, F.H. (1924) ‘The group fallacy in relation to social science’, Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 19: 60–73.
4. Brewer, M.B. (1999) ‘The psychology of prejudice: Ingroup love or outgroup hate?’, Journal of Social Issues, 55: 429–44.
5. Brown, R.J., Condor, S., Mathews, A., Wade, G. and Williams, J.A. (1986) ‘Explaining intergroup differentiation in an industrial organization’, Journal of Occupational Psychology, 59: 273–86.
6. Struch, N. and Schwartz, S.H. (1989) ‘Intergroup aggression: Its predictors and distinctness from in-group bias’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56: 364–73.



Michael W. Platow and John A. Hunter, „ Intergroup Relations and Conflicts. Revisiting Sherif’s Boys’ Camp studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications


Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017
Social Groups Psychological Theories Haslam I 154
Social groups/psychological theories: psychological theories prior to Sherif’s studies (>Robbers Cave Experiment/Sherif, Sherif and Sherif (1969)(1) had assumed that groups in fact do not exist. E. g., Groups/Allport: Thesis: the only material reality lies at the level of the individual (Allport 1924)(2).
SherifVsAllport/SherifVsTradition: the Boys’ Camp studies (>Group behavior/Sherif) demonstrated unequivocally the presence and importance of social-psychological variables that exist only at the conceptual level of the group. >Robbers Cave Experiment/Psychological theories, >Social groups/Sherif.
Prejudice/discrimination/Tradition: Prior to the publication of the Boys’ Camp studies, psychologists had typically explained stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination in terms either of some form of biological factor, individual psychological (decontextualized) characteristic, or intragroup property (see Sherif and Sherif, 1969(1), for a review). Moreover, this pursuit continued even after the publication of these studies (e.g., Hamilton and Gifford, 1976(3); Sibley and Duckitt, 2008(4)).



1. Sherif, M. and Sherif, C.W. (1969) Social Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.
2 .Allport, F.H. (1924) ‘The group fallacy in relation to social science’, Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 19: 60–73.
3. Hamilton, D.L. and Gifford, R.K. (1976) ‘Illusory correlation in interpersonal perception: A cognitive basis of stereotypic judgments’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12: 392–407.
4. Sibley, C.G. and Duckitt, J. (2008) ‘Personality and prejudice: A meta-analysis and theoretical review’, Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12: 248–79.


Michael W. Platow and John A. Hunter, „ Intergroup Relations and Conflicts. Revisiting Sherif’s Boys’ Camp studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications


Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017
Value Judgments Psychological Theories Corr I 394
Value Judgments/Psychological theories/Personality/Allport/Saucier: Allport and Odbert (1936)(1) argued that the science of personality would do well to ignore highly evaluative concepts, but they may be a vital part of the operation of mindset. SaucierVsAllport: Highly evaluative attribute-concepts (e.g., Good, Holy, Impressive, Evil) reference perceived competence with respect to consensual standards for proper behaviour. We tend to have contempt for those who disappoint us by showing deficits in such competence, who run askew of the standards of public culture.
Corr I 395
E.g., the Big Two Dynamism and Morality/Social Propriety dimensions may arise out of the relative independence of tendencies for others to be rewarding (those you would approach) or threatening (those you would avoid). And the single evaluative factor may be a simple combination of these two: attributes of people you would approach contrasted with attributes of people you would avoid.

1. Allport, G. W. and Odbert, H. S. 1936. Trait names: a psycho-lexical study, Psychological Monographs 47: Whole No. 211



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


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