Review of Personality: Current Theory and Research

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Reviews the book, Personality: Current Theory and Research by Janet Beavin Bavelas (1978). Personality is not the easiest topic to teach well. Even the question of what content to include and emphasize is problematic. The majority of introductory texts adopt a stance whereby the study of personality largely becomes identified with the study of personality theories. A problem with the theory based approach to personality is that many such theories are of declining importance in contemporary psychology. In this text, Janet Bavelas adopts a theory oriented perspective. However, she is not content merely to describe and evaluate the various theories selected for inclusion. She places the theories within a historical context and attempts to show how critical and empirical appraisal led to the decline of one class of theory and the elevation of another class. The book possesses many positive features. Introductory students find personality theories interesting and the historical context adds to the interest. The coverage is broad and zeros in on many central issues that preoccupy the present generation of personologists. Whether or not to adopt the Bavelas book for an introductory personality course would depend on the orientation of the instructor. For those who teach a traditional course, which emphasizes balanced evaluation and/or comparative analysis of the major theories, other texts might serve better. But for instructors concerned primarily with developments on the level of metatheory, the text probably has no equal. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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