The psychologist who pursues an interest in personality is constantly faced by a dilemma. He seeks to investigate what is to him the most intriguing and interesting subject--the multifaceted operations of man in his natural environment. The predicament lies in the discrepancy between the complexity and richness of man's subjective experience, and the pallid analog of these experiences the psychologist is able to study effectively with the research procedures available to him. In Concepts of Personality Joseph M. Wepman and Ralph W. Heine offer a comprehensive survey of classical and contemporary personality theory, including a wide array of examples of these two trends.
If the psychologist holds to the premises of strict objectivity through controlled observations, he finds himself driven to the periphery of the very problem he seeks to understand. This is a place where the reliability of measurement and the validity and predictability of his instruments can often be specified, but only at the cost of abandoning the goal of useful generality or of application to the individual in his ordinary life circumstances. Concepts of Personality, unlike most books on the subject, is not limited to broad, general theories. It includes chapters on basic processes--learning, perception, genetics, and drive theory; on the major analytical approaches of psychology and psychiatry; on anthropological and sociological contributions; and on the problems of measurement and assessment. Each chapter is by an authority on the point of view expressed.
The editors' introduction, itself a major essay on the complex and divergent patterns and themes of contemporary views of personality, carefully leads the reader through the information at hand. The book as a whole constitutes an encyclopedic summary of the state of the science.