The Personality Analyst

How Personality and Personal Intelligence Shape Our Lives

Background

Extra context for ongoing posts, when needed

Background for the most recent topic(s) are listed immediately below, with earlier ones further down. The entry at the end explains more about these "Background" posts.

January 24th, 2011, and forward

At the start of the year, I have embarked on a series of posts that looks at the ethics of blogging about public figures in the media -- particularly how those ethics apply to mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.  I have visited this topic before, examining the specifics of the ethics codes of psychiatrists, psychologists, and others, and how those ethics codes treat such public comments.  This time, I am asking, leaving aside for now earlier guidelines, "What would an ideal ethics code in this area look like?"

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October 11th through November 29th, 2010, and forward

The posts in this series examine the distinction between insightful (and professional) versus everyday perceptions of personality.  Before these posts, I had been exploring the judgments of personality made by mental health professionals from an almost exclusively ethical standpoint. 

To consider the impact of judging others with any thoroughness, however, I need to consider the science of judging as well as the ethics.  The posts beginning on October 11th began a more direct, albeit still historical, view of how people judge one another, now from a scientific perspective.

The present line of posts tie together two topics I am examining: The first topic concerns a description of realistical ethical guidelines for judging other people. The second topic concerns how professionalized (e.g., psychological) judgments of people differ from everyday judgments (if they do).  If I stay on track, at some point in the coming months, I will put these ideas together in a further consideration of the model of "areas of ethical concern" as to how people judge one another, that I began in an earlier post (here).

One detail that may interest professionals and students in personality psychology about this October 11th post is that most historians of personality psychology view the first textbook in the field in the United States to be Gordon Allport's 1937 "Personality: A psychological interpretation."  Here I make the case for the first time (I think) that A. A. Roback's volume -- 10 years earlier -- is another good candidate for consideration as an early textbook.

Sept. 27-October 4, 2010.  I have just completed a series of posts on the ethics codes of the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association, as they relate to a mental health professional's statements to the media on the mental health of public figures.   In my reading, these codes implicitly treat professional opinions' about an individual's personality as ethically problematic, when made public. 

A couple of key posts from earlier:

  • A post on the possible dangers of professional judgments of personality -- and of withholding them -- can be found here.
  • A post on the American Psychiatric Association's Goldwater Rule (one element of the Ethics Codes) is here.  There are several other posts on the ethics codes in the weeks before and after.

Why is such caution exercised in regard to public commentaries, I wondered? To find out, I am exploring the similarities and differences between professional versus everyday judgments, and some of the special issues surrounding professional judgments.

More broadly, I have been writing about the ethics of and laws of judging others, since beginning this blog for Psychology Today, counting my posts on "the Wisdom of Judging" and consideration of the 1964 Fact magazine trial.  The Fact trial accounts for some of the ethics codes we now have in place.

Sept. 6, 2010. In 2009, I began tracing how philosophers and religious figures of the Great Transformation (1000 BCE - 200 BCE) judged one another and what they taught about good and bad ways to judge. I had progressed through Confucianism and Hinduism when I began writing about another topic on this blog.  I continued researching other wisdom traditions without posting them.

The onset of the Jewish holiday season this week and my return from a one month break seemed like a good time to post this column on judging in Judaism. I expect to return to somethng more closely related to the professional ethics of judging others shortly. 

Work in Progress (not yet scheduled). Professional v. everyday judgments of personality. This new topic traces the emergence of professional judgments of personality and how they differ from everyday judgments.

Introduction to the "Background" Post

This "Background" post will provide a little extra context as to why I am covering a particular topic at a given time (when that seems useful), and how any new topic relates to earlier topics, as I see it.

I am trying this as an experiment to see if it helps reduce some of the repetition from post-to-post that readers have encountered.  This way, if you like, you can check in as to why I am choosing a given topic.

In this Background post, some additional detail as to why I am examining a topic will be covered "at the top," where relevant.  Earlier topics will be below that.  On weeks when I add something to this post, I will provide a link -- designated as "Background" -- in the weekly post itself.

Copyright © 2010-2011 by John D. Mayer

 

John D. Mayer is Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire and the author of numerous scientific articles, books, and psychological tests.

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