The Nomothetic Approach in Personality Testing Essay

The Nomothetic attack is an attack to personality appraisal. The term comes from the Grecian word “nomos” which means jurisprudence. In an on-line dictionary homothetic is defined as “giving or set uping laws” . Look for cosmopolitan Torahs of behavior. It is based on traditional. classical scientific discipline. In psychological science the nomothetic attack focuses on people in general. seeking to happen regularities or Torahs between people. The attack was proposed by a German philosopher Wilhelm Windelband in the nineteenth century.

The American psychologist. Gordon Allport ( 1937 ) looked at these two major ways to analyze personality. the nomothetic and the idiographic. Nomothetic psychological science looks for general Torahs that can be applied to many different people. such as the factor of feeling. or the trait of openness.

Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to submit amazing papers!

order now

Personality is thought to be determined mostly by both genetic sciences and nature. by environment and experiences. or by combination of the two. There is grounds for all possibilities. Modern research suggests that most personality traits are based on the influence of both nature and raising.

The nomothetic attack in respect to the nature-nurture argument assumes that personality is chiefly familial. as opposed to being nurtured. The attack involves the survey of types or traits of one’s person in personality research and appraisal.

A trait is a insistent form such as ever being untidy or late. Theorists by and large assume that traits are reasonably stable over clip. and that traits are different among persons.

A type is defined by the dominant penchant. Peoples are either extravert or introvert. The two traits are discontinuous. i. e. there is no in between. This means people may be extravert or invaginate on a uninterrupted graduated table. The thought is that we all possess personality traits in braces of opposite features.

The nomothetic attack sees people as unique in their combination of traits. merely within a certain paradigm. Peoples differ merely on the sum they have on each trait. Basically everyone fits in within a certain set of traits but differ by mensurating otherwise in each trait. The combination of the traits so come together to depict a personality.

The type of personality appraisals used by directors following the nomothetic attack is normally a self study questionnaire which normally consists of closed inquiries. The nomothetic attack is more of the appraisal of an person who is compared to a group of persons as opposed to the idiographic attack where the appraisal looks at the single regardless of others ( more on the idiographic attack will be discussed latter on ) .

For old ages theoreticians have been looking for the right trait bunchs to be able to mensurate personality. Psychometric proving which focuses on trait and type theories uses the nomothetic attack. This is because psychometric proving quantifies the personality attributes with standardized regulations.

Several trait theoreticians use the nomothetic attack. Hans Jurgen Eysenck ( 1916-1997 ) attack used the nomothetic attack. He believed that every person possessed a figure of identifiable traits. He came up with the chief three factor theoretical account ( P-E-N ) . the extraversion-introversion ‘E’ ( sociableness and unsociableness ) dimension and the neuroticism-stability ‘N’ ( emotionally unstable and stable ) dimension. He added the 3rd dimension ‘P’ in the 1970’s this dimension was known as the psychoticism dimension. He believed that people with a high P had increased exposure to psychoses and schizophrenic disorder.

Raymond Cattell came up with a trait theory known as the 16 Personality Factors ( 16PF ) . The large five personality traits are based on Cattell’s 16 PF. The 16PF Questionnaire is a self-report trial that measures the 16 personality dimensions.

Lewis Goldberg proposed a five-dimension personality theoretical account. nicknamed the “Big Five” : The Big Five consists of five chief personality traits: openness. conscientiousness. extroversion. amenity and neurosis ( OCEAN ) . There are self inquiry trials for the large five and one time the trials are completed it gives the topic a mark on each of the large five traits. The Big Five trial besides goes in line with the nomothetic attack in the sense that it is a speedy ego trial questionnaire which is quantitative. Each reply made in the trial is a closed reply so the director can anticipate replies to be within a certain paradigm as opposed to an unfastened inquiries trial where the topic can give any random reply that the director is non anticipating.

The nomothetic attack is besides dominant in Type theories such as the Jung personality type theory. The theory was founded by Jung in his book psychological types. which was published in 1921. Isabel Myers and her female parent Katharine C. Briggs developed a personality type trial by building the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ( MBTI ) based on Jung’s theory. The original theory consists of three maps. the invagination – extraversion map. the feeling – intuition map and the thought – experiencing map. Isabel Myers Katharine Briggs added a 4th map: perceiving – judgment. This MBTI type theoretical account is different from trait theoretical accounts because the MBTI tells us that a individual is either one type or the other. There are no in betweens like there is in trait theories. Type theories go in line with the nomothetic attack because it is possible to compare consequences with others.

Some directors may reason that there is more to personality appraisal than the nomothetic attack. non everything is as consecutive frontward as it seems. This is because theorists/scientists believe that non everyone’s personality is within a certain dimension and can non be regarded as a consecutive set of traits. Some theoreticians tend to reason that non everyone are related to the large five and in utmost instances some people may non even have personality traits within the large five! Theorists and directors who back the nomothetic attack believe that with the consequences of the self-report questionnaires it is possible to generalize the consequences they get. Meaning that when a director has so many consequences of the trial he so could detect what is the ‘norm’ by averaging the tonss and so utilize it to find if future employees have the necessary traits required for the occupation. Mangers may besides reason that this attack is in line with traditional scientific attacks that have been around for coevalss.

The nomothetic attack has been criticised by assorted theoreticians because they believe it is a speedy and inexpensive attack towards personality proving without any existent in-depth appreciation of the existent personality of the person. There are alternate attacks to the nomothetic attack. the chief one being the idiographic attack. The chief facet of the idiographic attack is that it does non look at a group of persons but at an person to analyze their singularity and life experiences irrespective of the others. Idiographic psychological science is an effort to understand the alone facets of a peculiar person.

The idiographic attack uses instance survey and depth psychology methods in item. Some directors may prefer this attack because the idiographic attack towards personality appraisal is much more qualitative in the sense that it grasps the employee’s personality much more in item. The idiographic attack is in line with Sigmund’s Freud’s depth psychology school because Freud believed that people developing personality were more through raising which means that worlds are wholly unpredictable because of the conflict between the Idaho. self-importance and superego. Directors who follow the idiographic attack may utilize qualitative agencies of measuring personality by methods such as instance surveies. Directors who use the nomothetic attack may ignore the idiographic attack as excessively expensive and clip consuming. By utilizing the idiographic attack it is difficult for directors to do anticipations on the hereafter from old consequences as it is non-standardised.

The idiographic attack may be criticised by theoreticians and directors who follow the nomothetic attack because ideographic methods are frequently non-standardised doing reproduction hard or impossible. On the other manus some concern directors may prefer the idiographic attack because instance survey methods gaining control and describe alterations that happen over a period of clip instead than taking a present ‘snapshot’ . Regardless of unfavorable judgments the nomothetic attack may be preferred by directors because as mentioned before it is speedy. heterosexual to the point. easy to generalize. easy to retroflex and standardised. They can analyze employees and see if they are suited because the self-report questionnaire is compared to “the right employee” .

I believe the nomothetic attack might be utile to directors from developing states such as China and India. This may be because of the quickly turning demand for labor in secondary and third sectors where directors may necessitate to hold a speedy and low cost manner of choosing and using workers. In certain type of societies where there is comparatively high demand for professional workers ( e. g. Manhattan. City of London ) concerns are able to pass more clip and concentrate on every interviewee. the idiographic attack towards personality appraisal may be used alongside the nomothetic attack. Some directors may even ignore both attacks and utilize their ain attack since they both have their disadvantages. Their ain attack could be utilizing their ain methods towards personality appraisal ; they could even come up with their ain theories.

We should retrieve that personality is a really complex issue and theoreticians and scientists maintain seeking to understand it. However. directors from administrations may go on to utilize assorted personality appraisals resulted from ongoing research by theoreticians and scientists.


Huczynski. A. A. and Buchanan. D. A. ( 2007 ) Organizational behavior: An introductory text. 6th erectile dysfunction. . Harlean carpenter: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

Google book hunt. An debut to theories of personality. [ on-line ] ( accessed 01/12/2008 ) hypertext transfer protocol: //books. Google. co. uk/books? id=Ks0DzfrQIW8C & A ; pg=PA262 & A ; lpg=PA262 & A ; dq=nomothetic+approach+personality & A ; source=web & A ; ots=Oi10-hTY5e & A ; sig=ToUWUQOv8zJqTflPBl3kT5_50Kc & A ; hl=en & A ; sa=X & A ; oi=book_result & A ; resnum=1 & A ; ct=result # PPA263. M1Simply Psychology. Psychological argument. [ on-line ] ( accessed 01/12/2008 ) hypertext transfer protocol: //www. simplypsychology. pwp. blueyonder. co. uk/nomotheticWilderdom. Personality Traits: Idiographic vs. Nomothetic. [ on-line [ ( accessed 02/12/2008 ) hypertext transfer protocol: //wilderdom. com/personality/traits/PersonalityTraitsIdiographicNomothetic. htmlCran Psyche. Idiographic versus nomothetic attacks to psychology. [ on-line ] ( accessed 02/12/2008 ) hypertext transfer protocol: //www. cranepsych. com/Psych/Idiographic_versus_nomothetic. pdfCrozier. G.