The purpose of Chapter 11 was to discuss different theories and beliefs of the personality psychologists on how human personality is formed and how it can be analyzed and/or measured. The early contributions to this branch of psychology were from psychoanalysts. For example, Freud believed that adult personality was the outcome of the ego’s effort to control instinctual drives by channeling them into acceptable forms of behavior. Because traits are not visible objects or technically specific actions, researchers found it difficult to measure personality. This chapter provided certain information on different ways personality was measured, including with personal documents, interviews, ratings by observers, and questionnaires. Questionnaires are the most common tool in measuring personality that is still used today. A famous questionnaire is known as the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory (MMPI) which was developed in the 1930’s by Starke Hathaway and J. C. McKinley and contained 500 statements that participants would have to respond with either “yes,” “no,” or “?” (uncertain). As a result, the participants responses would be used to interpret where a person fell on different scales of what they believed were personality-based mental illnesses.
The conclusion that the author makes is that personality is truly a complex concept and cannot be merely explained by hereditary and environmental influences but acknowledges that the different interactions of the two do seem to produce subsequent experiences related to personality. Because of this, personality can be seen and measured from many different viewpoints and with many different theories.