Personality Theory:
A Biosocial Approach

C. George Boeree, PhD
Psychology Department
Shippensburg University

Copyright C. George Boeree 2009



Welcome!

I believe that we are getting to the point where we might be ready for a unified theory of personality.  This online book is my attempt to look at the study of personality in terms of issues rather than individual (and often contradictory) theories.  Those of you who have read some of my other online work will recognize many bits and pieces of it, but I have reorganized the material in a more thematic way so that, while you will see some of the historically significant theories and research, you will also see more clearly how these are leading to something more integrated.  There are also many places where I have added my own ideas regarding where I think the field is headed.  The goal here is not to convince you of one theory or another, but rather to help you sort through the work of others and formulate your own best understanding of what it means to be a person.

I hope that you find this book interesting and helpful!

This is dedicated to the spirit of Gardner Murphy, whose book Personality: A Biosocial  Approach was my introduction to psychology.

- George Boeree

Table of Contents

1.  Introduction

    Science
    Methods
    Phenomenology
    Beware!

2.  Consciousness

    Qualities
    The senses
    Desire
    Feelings
    Perspectives

3.  Perception

    The "raw material" of perception
    Gestalts
    The perception of utility

4.  Interaction

    Anticipation
    Imagination
    Thinking
    Person perception
    Social interaction
    The phenomenal field

5.  Adaptation

    Learning
    Remembering and forgetting
    Constructs
    Mental structures
    Inferences

6.  Emotions

    The surprise family
    The fear family
    The anger family
    The sadness family
    The eagerness family
    The happiness family
    The boredom family

7.  Motivation

    Curiosity and play
    Social motivation
    Habit
    The hierarchy and the daimonic
    Actualization
    Decisions, decisions

8.  Instinct

    Carl Jung's collective unconscious
    Animal instincts
    Sex
    Children
    Helping
    Aggression
    Society

9.  Temperaments

    Ancient Greeks
    Carl Jung
    Hans Eysenck
    Baby temperaments
    The big five
    Intelligence
    Maleness and femaleness
    Autism
    Antisociality
    Conclusions

10.  Society

    Constructed realities
    Culture
    Getting a picture of a culture
    Cultural typologies
    The band
    The tribe
    Civilization
    The age of the individual


11.  The social unconscious

    Conformity
    Norms
    Roles
    Status
    Society and our mental health

12.  Self-determination

    Gordon Allport
    Alfred Adler
    Existentialism
    Free-will vs determinism

13.  Values

    Alfred Adler
    Gordon Allport
    Abraham Maslow
    Carl Rogers
    Existential psychology
    Viktor Frankl
    Values and anticipation
    Transcendence of self

14.  Stages

    Sigmund Freud  
    Erik Erikson
    Jean Piaget
    Family
    The infant
    The young child
    The older child
    Adolescence
    Adulthood
    Late adulthood

15.  Moral development

    Kohlberg's theory
    Bronfenbrenner's theory
    Perspectives theory

16.  Psychological disorders

    Sigmund Freud
    Carl Jung
    Alfred Adler
    Karen Horney
    Carl Rogers
    Existential psychology
    Viktor Frankl
    Albert Ellis
    Buddhist psychology
    A biosocial theory

17.  Defenses and coping strategies

    Sigmund Freud
    Alfred Adler
    Karen Horney
    Erich Fromm
    Balance theory
    Cognitive dissonance theory
    Carl Rogers

18.  Specific disorders

    Anxiety disorders
    Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    Mood disorders
    Trance disorders
    Psychosis
    Alienation

19.  Therapy

    Sigmund Freud
    Alfred Adler
    Otto Rank
    Carl Rogers
    George Kelly
    Albert Ellis
    Existential therapy
    Viktor Frankl
    The eightfold path
    Biosocial therapy

20.  Conclusion

Bibliography