The subject matter of the psychology of personality

Asmolov A.G. — Soviet Psychology
A considerable number of studies have recently, with increasing insistence, been stressing the need to conceptualize whatever of value has been accumulated by the various schools of Soviet psychology on the psychology of the personality and to delineate the subject matter of that area of study (see: L. I. Antsy ferova, 1981; V. V. Davydov, 1979; B. F. Lomov, 1981; A. V. Petrovskii, 1981; E. V. Shorokhova, 1982). Today, the various schools studying personality (e.g., those of B. G. Anan’ev and V. N. Myasishchev, of L. S. Vygotsky, A. N. Leont’ev, and A. R. Luria, of S. L. Rubinshtein, of B. M. Teplov, and of D. N. Uznadze) almost never «cross each other’s paths.» One of the impediments to productive dialogue about the subject matter of the psychology of personality derives from the very logic of empirical research, the assumption that there is some universal phenomenology that actually results in a description of the subject matter of the psychology of personality as a unidimensional structure rather than a systemic structure. The original view of the personality as a heterogeneous systemic structure would, however, help psychologists in different fields to acquire a more nuanced overview of the special area covered by the single subject of the psychology of personality and would help pinpoint two groups of problems: (a) study of the specifics of their findings, the methods they use, and the laws they discover, seen then as facts, methods, and laws characterizing a specific facet of that multifaceted object called the personality; (b) discovery of general laws cutting across disciplines, and the building of conceptual bridges between various disciplines studying the personality. To deal with these problems, representatives of the different schools should discard their own egocentricity and look at the views on, facts about, and methods of studying the personality obtained in other areas of psychology within a single conceptual framework. We shall attempt such an approach in this article.
Asmolov A.G. The subject matter of the psychology of personality // Soviet Psychology. — 1984. — no. XXII.4.
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