Regarding Personality Theories

Why they exist:
    Any personality theory is developed to aid in the understanding of the human individual. This will contribute to our understanding of what humans do and give us some ability to help and adjust human mistakes while maximizing the human experience. A theory must work in the framework of the science of psychology. Unfortunately, psychology is a rather imprecise science because measurement has to be done within tolerable human limits as well as acceptable moral limits. We also lack precise measurement tools although modern imaging technology is assisting in this endeavor. It is no surprise therefore, that there are a multitude of theories from which one may choose. However any theory that is developed must have both descriptive and predictive components. The descriptive aspect should render human behaviour in a systematized format to make it understandable. The predictive aspect of a theory should allow us to discern possible future behaviours and outcomes in a person or even a group of persons. So any particular theory is a means by which the trained observer organizes the information gathered. A theory is merely a tool in the hand of the therapist/artist.

Qualifications of a theory:
1) Testability: A theory must be testable across a number of independent practitioners. A good theory will invite and stimulate research. Thus in the case of a testable theory, the central ideas must be clearly defined. The theory must be logical so that the consequences of the theory can be tested by logical analysis. ( I must say that this is one of the more confounding problems for any school of psychology, because research testing methods at this level, are not easily available.)

2) Self Consistency: There should be no self contradictions in a theory. It must form this consistency from real observation of people.

3) Stimulates research: A good theory will encourage scientific testing. The theory needs to be unfolded in such a manner that its premises can be put to the test of statistical analysis, and even, as the capabilities evolve, to laboratory and imaging technology.

4) Occum's Razor: Any good theory will explain the observations in a manner that uses the smallest number of concepts to achieve the unity of the theory. This is always a test of any good scientific notion. It is not possible to lay hard and fast rules in this regard, but the more simply a theory explains an observations, the greater probability it has of being a useful theory.

5) Coverage: A good theory must cover a broad range of circumstances and yet still pass the parsimony principle above. Convoluted theories will only lead to imprecise thinking and poor testability. Never the less, there is no single theory that can encompass the full range of the human condition.

6) Usefulness: A good theory can be put to use in the everyday world of humanity to help us understand what we are observing while at the same time organizing the information in a manageable manner.

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