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Personality Psychology

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Personality Psychology ­ PSY 405
VU
Lesson 18
SHELDON'S SOMATOTYPE THEORY
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Constitutional Psychology
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Sheldon's Somatotype Theory
Constitutional Psychology
Constitutional psychology looks at the physique or soma or body type as possible explanation of human
behavior.
Sheldon's Somatotype Theory
Sheldon looks at the physique or body type (soma) for the explanation of human behavior.
Sheldon defines:
1- A discrete number of physical and
2-Temperamental variables, he considers of primary importance in representing human behavior.
A complete description of the process of somatotyping the male body is contained in Sheldon's Atlas of
men (1954) which includes representative somatotype photographs of over one thousand men derived
from a total sample of 46,000 photographs.
The physical measurements provide ratings for the five different areas of the body: head-neck, chest-trunk,
arms, stomach-trunk, and legs.
1-The Structure of Physique
Dimensions of Physique
Primary Components of Physique
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1- Endomorphy
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2- Mesomorphy
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3- Ectomorphy
2-The Secondary Components
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Dysplasia.
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Female Somatotyping
3-The Analysis of Behavior (Personality)
Dimensions of Temperament
1- Primary Components of Temperament
2- The Secondary Components
4-The Relation of Physique to Behavior (Personality )
1-Factors Mediating the Physique- Temperament Association
2-Biological and Genetic Orientation
3-Unconscious Processes
5- Characteristic Research and Research Methods
1-Physique and Mental Disorder
2-Physique and Delinquency
6-Evaluation
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We had discussed the following with you
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Personality Psychology ­ PSY 405
VU
1-The Structure of Physique
Dimensions of Physique
Primary Components of Physique
1-endomorphy
2-mesomorphy
3-ectomorphy
2-The Secondary Components
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Dysplasia.
·
Female Somatotyping
3- The Analysis of Behavior (Personality)
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Dimensions of Temperament
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Primary Components of Temperament
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So now let us talk about lecture no 18
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which begins from the concept of
3-The Analysis of Behavior (Personality)
Given a stable means of assessing the physical aspects of the human build, the constitutional psychologist
must still devise or borrow some method of assessing behavior in order to explore the relation between
physique and personality.
Dimensions of Temperament
Initially the literature of personality, especially that having to do with specifying human traits, was
carefully inspected, and a list of 650 traits was extracted. The list was increased by adding variables derived
from the investigator's own observations and then was sharply reduced through combining overlapping
dimensions and eliminating those that seemed of no significance. In the end Sheldon and his co-workers
had a total of 50 traits that seemed to them to represent all of the specific phenomena that had been dealt
with by the original 650 traits.
Primary Components of Temperament
The results of the correlation analysis revealed three major clusters or groups of traits that included twenty-
two of the original fifty items. The first group included traits of relaxation, love of comfort, pleasure in
digestion, dependence on social approval, deep sleep, and need of people when troubled.
The traits spanned by the second cluster included assertive posture, energetic characteristic, need of
exercise, directness of manner, unrestrained voice, quality of seeming older, need of action when troubled.
Finally, there was a third group of traits, including restraint in posture, overly fast reaction, sociophobia,
inhibited social address, resistance to habit, vocal restraint, poor sleep habits, youthful intentness, need of
solitude when troubled.
4-The Relation of Physique to Behavior (Personality)
We have now seen how Sheldon identified what he considered to be the basic components of physique
(structure) and temperament (function).
Factors Mediating the Physique- Temperament Association
We accept here the existence of a marked relation between measures of physique and measures of
important behavioral attributes, and inquire into what has led to this striking congruence. One may reason
that an individual who is endowed with a particular type of physique is likely to find certain kinds of
responses particularly effective while an individual with another type of physique will find it necessary to
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Personality Psychology ­ PSY 405
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adopt other modes of response.
The individual with a frail ectomorphic body cannot successfully adopt an aggressive, domineering manner
in relation to most people, whereas it may be perfectly possible for the oversized mesomorph to do so.
Further, the child with a small stomach, or low thresholds for pain, may be exposed to characteristic
experiences that are strikingly different from those typical for individuals of different physical
characteristics. Given a particular physique and a normal environment, the individual finds certain kinds of
responses are relatively often rewarded and certain other kinds of responses are usually punished. This
implies that the individual will develop patterns of behavior that will show similarity to the behavior of
other people, who because of sharing the same kind of physiques have had similar sets of experiences.
Another possibility is that the relation between physique and temperament is mediated by commonly
accepted stereotypes or the social-stimulus value within the culture in regard to the sort of behavior to be
expected of individuals with different kinds of physique.
Biological and Genetic Orientation
Many personality theorists have chosen to place a heavy emphasis upon the psychobiological nature of
human behavior (Murray, Murphy, and Freud)
In many respects the details of Sheldon's position may be considered to stem from a conviction that
biological factors are of overwhelming importance in accounting for human behavior and his consequent
decision to attempt the measurement of important elements of this biological foundation of behavior. As we
have seen from his distinction between the somatotype and the morphogenotype, the measurement of
physique is merely a means of estimating the underlying biological factors that have such a heavy influence
upon the course of life. All things considered, it seems safe to say that Sheldon's position revolves more
closely about biological determinants of behavior than does that of any other contemporary personality
theorist.
Unconscious Processes
The importance of unconscious determinants of behavior is accepted by Sheldon but he is inclined to
equate these determinants to underlying biological factors. Presumably if the individual knew more about
the structure of his body and the biological factors at work within it, he would be more conscious of the
forces that impel his behavior.
5-Characteristic Research and Research Methods
More than most personality theorists Sheldon's formulations are embedded in empirical studies. We have
already gained a rather representative view of his investigations in the process of noting how he set about
the formulation and measurement of physique and temperament.
Let us deal briefly with two further studies in which he investigated mental disorder and delinquency
against the background offered by somatotype measurement.
1-Physique and Mental Disorder
Constitutional psychology not only gives promise of providing new vistas of understanding in the study of
normal human behavior; it also offers the possibility of understanding better, and perhaps alleviating or
preventing, various psychological and social abnormalities.
After examining the state of psychiatric diagnosis he concluded that it would not be possible to approach
the study of physique in relation to mental disorder.
2-Physique and Delinquency
Sheldon's eight-year study of delinquent youth was conducted to provide a kind of background against
which to compare his findings from the study of normal college youth. The investigation was carried out at
the Hayden Goodwill Inn, a resident rehabilitation home for boys in Boston, Massachusetts. During the
three years from 1939 to 1942 approximately four hundred young men were studied by Sheldon and his
collaborators and, from this sample, two hundred were selected for a follow-up study after the war on the
basis of completeness of information and clear evidence of delinquency. All of the subjects were examined
by means of the Somatotype Performance Test and assigned somatotype ratings as well as ratings on the
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Personality Psychology ­ PSY 405
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secondary components of physique.
Even though some personality theorists have chosen to dwell upon these factors, they have, in general,
shown little inclination to implement the crucial biological factors. Thus we may largely credit Sheldon
with reminding psychologists that the behaving human has physique, and further that this physique
provides valuable clues to an underlying set of determinants, which in the end may prove quite as
collaboration between biological and behavioral scientists and the growing awareness on the part of
psychologists of the importance of biological factors has served to make Sheldon's position far more
acceptable today than it was a decade or so ago.
6-Evaluation
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we may largely credit Sheldon with reminding psychologists that the behaving human has
physique, and this physique provides valuable clues to an underlying set of determinants, which
may prove quite as collaboration between biological and behavioral scientists and the growing
awareness on the part of psychologists of the importance of biological factors has served to make
Sheldon's position far more acceptable today than it was a decade or so ago.
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In any final evaluation of Sheldon's theory it is important to consider the wealth of empirical
studies that have been conducted by Sheldon and stimulated by his writings.
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Ultimately the value of a theory can best be measured by its empirical impact and no one can deny
that Sheldon's findings and formulations have provoked dozens or perhaps hundreds of related
studies.
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Sheldon's work is of assured interest to psychologists whatever its shortcomings may be it has led
to findings with which the future must reckon.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE NATURE OF PERSONALITY THEORY:Objectives of Personality Psychology
  2. PERSONALITY MEASUREMENT:Observational Procedures, Rating Scales
  3. MAIN PERSPECTIVES:Psychometrics, observation, Behavioral Coding Systems
  4. SIGMUND FREUD: A PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY
  5. INSTINCT: WHAT MOTIVATES HUMAN BEHAVIOR?, The Oral Stage
  6. PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF SIGMUND FREUD:The Ego, Free association
  7. THEORY OF CARL JUNG:Biographical Sketch, Principles of Opposites, The Persona
  8. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES:Childhood, Young Adulthood, Middle Ages
  9. ALFRED ADLER:Biographical Sketch, Individual Psychology, Feeling of Inferiority
  10. INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY:Fictional Finalism, Social Interest, Mistaken Styles of Life
  11. KAREN HORNEY:Adjustment to Basic Anxiety, Adjustment Techniques
  12. ADJUSTMENT TO BASIC ANXIETY:Moving Towards People, Moving Against People
  13. ERIK ERIKSON:Anatomy and Destiny, Ego Psychology, Goal of Psychotherapy
  14. ERIK ERIKSON:Human Development, Goal of Psychotherapy
  15. SULLIVAN’S INTERPERSONAL THEORY:Core Concepts, The Self-System
  16. SULLIVAN’S INTERPERSONAL THEORY:Cognitive Process, Tension
  17. CONSTITUTIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:The Structure of Physique, Evaluation
  18. SHELDON’S SOMATOTYPE THEORY:The Structure of Physique
  19. MASLOW’S THEORY:Self-Actualizers Aren't Angels, Biographical Sketch
  20. MASLOW’S THEORY:Basic Concepts of Humanistic Psychology, Problem Centering
  21. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Humanistic, Actualizing tendency
  22. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Fully functioning person
  23. ROGERS PERSON CENTERED APPROACH:Client Centered Therapy,
  24. KELLY’S COGNITIVE THEORY OF PERSONALITY THEORY:Biographical Sketch
  25. CORE CONCEPTS OF GEORGE KELLY’S COGNITIVE THEORY OF PERSONALITY
  26. GORDON ALLPORT: A TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Personality as a
  27. GORDON ALLPORT: A TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Secondary Traits
  28. FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY:Factor Analysis, The Nature of Personality
  29. FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY:The Specification Equation, Research Methods
  30. HENRY MURRAY’S PERSONOLOGY:Need, Levels of Analysis, Thema
  31. HENRY MURRAY’S PERSONOLOGY (CONTINUED)
  32. ALBERT BANDURA’S SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY:BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
  33. ALBERT BANDURA’S SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY:Reciprocal Determinism
  34. THE STIMULUS RESPONSE THEORY OF DOLLARD AND MILLER:Core Concepts
  35. THE STIMULUS RESPONSE THEORY OF DOLLARD AND MILLER:Innate Equipment
  36. SKINNER’S THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Biographical Sketch, Books
  37. SKINNER’S THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Positive Reinforcement, Generalization
  38. ALBERT ELLIS THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Biographical Sketch, Social Factors
  39. THE GRAND PERFECT THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Genes and Biology
  40. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY:Dispositional
  41. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY
  42. PERSPECTIVES OR DOMAINS OF PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY:Need
  43. THE GRAND THEORY OF PERSONALITY:Psychosexual Stages of Development
  44. PERSONALITY APPRAISAL:Issues in Personality Assessment
  45. PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY: NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE DISCIPLINE