Normal Personality: a Critical Evaluation Essay

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Running head: APPROACHES TO ‘NORMAL PERSONALITY’ IN PSYCHOLOGY Normal Personality: A Critical Evaluation of Different Approaches in Psychology Leigh Hoang The University of Sydney Abstract This essay critiques three main approaches to ‘normal personality’ in psychology: statistical, evaluative (ethical), and the biological concepts. Applications of statistical ‘normality’ in the behavioural perspective of personality prove to be useful in determining an average ‘normality’ in comparison to a sampled population, but is insufficient in accounting for outstanding behaviours and determining treatment. Evaluative (ethical) ‘normality’ is effective in humanistic approaches in psychology by providing an explanation to environmental influences on the individual, but is inadequate for testing and risks falling into ‘single-person’ normality, as it is highly subjective. Biological ‘normality’ is grounded in the biological personality theory and accounts for determining treatment of mental disorders, yet does not provide explanations to environment-induced disorders and is ambiguous in its definition of ‘normal’ and ‘function’. It will be argued that no particular concept of normal personality is more appropriate than the other, and that a combination of the concepts would be a favourable alternative to what may be an indefinable concept. Word Count: 146 Normal Personality: A Critical Evaluation of Different Approaches in Psychology According to Wachbroit (1994), the three main approaches to normality in personality theories are “the statistical concept... evaluative concept...and the biological concept.” (p. 579). This essay will examine the concepts aforementioned and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach within particular personality theories in psychology. ‘Normality’ has
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