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Personality Psychology

Personality Psychology

Foundations and Findings

Marianne Miserandino

Feb 2012, Hardback, 512 pages
ISBN13: 9780205738878
ISBN10: 0205738877
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Helps students relate current research in the field of personality psychology to their daily lives.

This book introduces students to the basic foundations and latest findings by presenting the fundamental questions, accumulated knowledge, and latest findings in genetics, neuroscience, traits, self and identity, intrapsychic aspects, regulation, motivation, and cognition, as well as the integration across these areas.

Personality Psychology is an undergraduate textbook for personality psychology: the study of individual differences, for identifying ways in which people are both similar and different and for explaining how they became that way. Written with an approachable, story-telling style, the author presents an evidence-based text with integrated culture references and the key building blocks of the subject matter: genetics, neuroscience, and cognition. Miserandino is an APA-award winning teacher and has placed learning tools such as self-assessments within each chapter that guide students into a complete understanding throughout the text.

Click here to view a sample chapter!

Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers should be able to:

  • Analyze both the foundations and findings of the research process
  • Learn about themselves, the people around them, and how personality psychology applies to their everyday lives
  • Understand and interpret new discoveries in psychology and related fields as they occur in the future



CHAPTER 1: Who Am I? Understanding the Building Blocks of Personality

CHAPTER 2: Personality Traits: A Good Theory

CHAPTER 3: Personality Traits: Practical Matters

CHAPTER 4: Personality Assessment

CHAPTER 5: Self and Identity

CHAPTER 6: Genetics

CHAPTER 7: The Neuroscience of Personality

CHAPTER 8: Intrapsychic Foundations of Personality

CHAPTER 9: Regulation and Emotion: Self-Determination Theory

CHAPTER 10: Cognitive Foundations of Personality

CHAPTER 11: Gender and Personality


Chapter 1: Who Am I? Understanding the Building Blocks of Personality
What is Personality Psychology?
How do Psychologists Study Personality?
Research Methods Illustrated: A True Experiment
Then and Now: The Ethics of Research with People

Chapter 2: Personality Traits: A Good Theory

What is a Personality Trait?

What do we know about Personality From the Idiographic Approach?

What do we know about Personality from the Nomothetic Approach?

Research Methods Illustrated: Factory Analysis

The Great Nomothetic Search for Universal Principles of Personality

Then and Now: The Four Temperaments and the Five Factors

Chapter 3: Personality Traits: Practical Matters

What's Missing from the Five Factors?

The Five Factors in other cultures

Research Methods Illustrated: Triangulation and Types of Data

Expression of Traits in Everyday Life

The Personality of Everyday Life: What does your online presence say about your personality?

Personality Development Over the Life Span: Continuity, Change, and Coherence

Then and Now: The Grant Study of Harvard Graduates

Chapter 4: Personality Assessment

What makes a Good Personality Test?

Research Methods Illustrated: Is the Neo-Pi-R a Good Personality Test?

Personality Tests and Selection

The Personality of Everyday Life: What can they ask you on a job interview?

Then and Now: Personality Assessment and Matchmaking

Chapter 5: Self and Identity


Then and Now: The Self

The Personality of Everday Life: Shooting Yourself in the Foot to Protect your Self-Esteem

Research Methods Illustrated: Qualitative Data and Content Analysis

Chapter 6: Genetics
Nature and Nurture as Allies
Genes and Environment as Co-Actors
Research Methods Illustrated: Correlational Designs I: The Logic of Adoption Studies and Twin Studies
Heritability of Common Personality Characteristics
Then and Now: The Science of Genetics
Genes and Environment: Adialectical Synthesis

The Personality of Everyday Life: What can Genetics do for us?

Chapter 7: The Neuroscience of Personality

What is neuroscience and how do we study it?

Research Methods Illustrated: Correlational Designs II: Scatterplots, Correlations, and the Alleged "Voodoo Science" of FMRI Studies

Neurological Theories of Personality

The Personality of Everday Life: Personality and the Guessing Penalty

Then and Now: Phrenology, the new Phrenology, and the Future of NeuroImaging for Personality and Beyond

Neurological Correlates of Personality

Chapter 8: Intrapsychic Foundations of Personality
Sigmund Freud and Psychoanalysis
Research Methods Illustrated: Case Study and Psychobiography
Psychodynamic Theory Since Freud Attachment Theory

Chapter 9: Self-Determination Theory
Three Fundamental Psychological Needs
How Do We Satisfy These Needs?
Then and Now: Undermining Intrinsic Interest
Connections between Self-Determination Theory and Other Theories in Personality
Research Methods Illustrated: Path Analysis
What It Means to Be Self-Regulated
Self-Determination Theory Applied

Chapter 10: Cognitive Foundations of Personality
Locus of Control
Then and Now: Locus of Control
Learned Helplessness
Explanatory Style
Research Methods Illustrated: Field Studies and Natural Manipulations
Dispositional Optimism

Chapter 11: Gender and Personality
Beliefs about Personality Similarities and Differences between Men and Women
Research Methods Illustrated: Effect Size and Meta Analysis
Personality Differences between Men and Women: Fact or Fiction?
What Causes Gender Differences?
Gendered Beliefs about Personality: What Difference Does It Make?
Then and Now: Definition and Assessment of Gender

  • "Research Methods Illustrated" section in each chapter taking a closer look at a specific method used by personality psychologists. (ex. p. 10)
  • "Then and Now" section in each chapter showing how research questions and findings have changed over time. (ex. p. 13)
  • "Think About It" critical thinking questions throughout the text. (ex. p. 14)
  • "See for Yourself" exercises and questions throughout the text to help students think about what the material means to them. (ex. p. 15)
  • Self-assessments in every chapter. (ex. p. 18)
  • "The Personality of Everyday Life" sections in every chapter illustrating how to apply the findings in your own life. (ex. p. 63)
  • Review questions in every chapter. (ex. p. 76)
  • Nearly 2000 references making the book an important reference work for students beyond their personality class
  • Integrative mini-chapters on Gender, Sexual-Orientation, and Resilience. (ex. p. 349)
  • Each chapter opens with an eye-opening research study to introduce the themes of the chapter. (ex. p. 350)
  • A number of supplements help students master the foundations and findings of personality psychology, and to appreciate research findings in personality psychology today. These include an Instructor’s Resource Manual with Tests, MyTest Test Bank, Standard PowerPoint Presentation, CourseSmart eText, and MyPsychLab.
  • Build your own Pearson Custom course material - For enrollments of at least 25, create your own textbook by combining chapters from best-selling Pearson textbooks and/or reading selections in the sequence you want. To begin building your custom text, visit Or, work with a dedicated Pearson Custom editor to create your ideal textbook and web material—publishing your own original content or mixing and matching Pearson content. Contact your Pearson representative to get started.

Marianne Miserandino is the 2010 winner of the Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award, Four-Year Colleges and Universities, from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association). She was also the 2009 Arcadia University Professor of the Year and the 2000 recipient of the Lindback Award for teaching excellence. She currently maintains the Personality Pedagogy web site for teachers of personality psychology (http://personalitypedagogy .arcadia .edu ) for which she received a grant from the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science.

Her commitment to teaching is evidenced by her work as News Editor, reviewer, and frequent contributor to the APA journal Teaching of Psychology. She has conducted a 4-week study abroad program in Vienna, Austria for the Arcadia University College of Global Studies on the psychology of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Viktor Frankl.

Dr. Miserandino received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology from Cornell University. Dr. Miserandino came to Arcadia University after a postdoctoral fellowship in Human Motivation at the University of Rochester and full-time teaching.

Miserandino is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Election to Fellow status requires evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology. Fellow status requires that a person's work has had a national impact on the field of psychology beyond a local, state, or regional level. A high level of competence or steady and continuing contributions are not sufficient to warrant Fellow status. National impact must be demonstrated.(

She is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Sigma XI - The Scientific Research Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and has served on the American Psychological Association Division Two Task Force for Minority Issues.

2010 winner of the Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the American Psychological Associationís Society for the Teaching of Psychology. This is a national, professional award that the APA gives for teaching, mentoring, and scholarship related to the teaching of psychology.

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