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[See Factor analysisand Traits.]However an investigator chooses to proceed in articulating and delimiting the sense in which he will define “personality,” he will confront the dismaying problem of “measurement.” What is measured or recorded is behavior, and behavior has many determinants and many meanings.
Identical behaviors may be the expression of fundamentally different mediating sequences or, conversely, different behaviors may be essentially equivalent in the functions they serve or the processes from which they eventuate.
There are four classes of indicators that may be used: (1) a subject may be observed in his everyday life and actions (presumably without his actions’ being affected by these observations) and from his behaviors a judgment is made as to whether he is anxious; (2) a subject may be asked, by means of a questionnaire, to state directly (or in ways he may not completely understand) whether he is anxious; (3) a subject may be placed in a controlled or test situation designed to elicit special behaviors or products relevant to anxiety; (4) a subject’s physiological reactions may be assessed by various instruments, to determine whether he shows certain responses or changes presumed to be indicants of anxiety.
With so many definitions of the field and with a plethora of vaguely redundant but not readily integrated concepts, it is difficult to know where to try to begin measuring the nebulous notion of personality and toward what ends.
[See Personality.]In order not to be immobilized by the endless conceptual possibilities, two tactics have been adopted.
By way of illustration, consider the concept of anxiety and its measurement.
Perhaps all conceptualizations of personality leave room for or try to encompass the notion of anxiety; by focusing on the measurement of anxiety, most of the problems and logic of personality measurement may be illustrated.