Personality Theorist

Personality Theorist

We have learned about many famous personality theorists in this class.  However, there are a few influential theorists that your book does not cover.  The goal of this paper is for you to explore the life and theory of one of these famous personality theorists.  You will look at the theorist’s life in an effort to understand his/her theory and how his/her life history influenced the development of the theory.  This paper is not only a biography—biographical information is included, but as part of the whole.  Rather, the goal of this paper is understanding—of the theory itself and the theorist as a person.  Those papers that evidence a clear grasp of the theory and a grasp of how the theorist came to develop his/her theory will have the best grades.  You will also apply the theory to a real person in an effort to encourage you to see personality theory as something useful in the real world.  Those papers that evidence a precise, insightful application of theory to the personality of the chosen subject will have the best grades.

You will write a 6-7 page paper (not including references; no abstract is necessary) using the following guidelines:

First choose one of the influential personality theorists listed below.  You may not choose anyone not on this list.

•      Harry Stack Sullivan

•      Erich Fromm

•      Melanie Klein

•      D.W. Winnicott

•      John Bowlby

•      Margaret Mahler

•      Anna Freud

Section 1

•      Write a short biography of the theorist from childhood to death.  This should include the theorist’s life history and academic credentials.  This section should be no more than one to two pages.

•      Remember, do not plagiarize in this section.  Everything must be in your own words and must be properly cited in APA style.

Section 2

•      Discuss the important facets of the person’s theory. Make sure you include key concepts from the theory, as well as the theory as a whole.  [For example, if I was using Freud as a theorist for this paper, I would discuss the ID, Ego, and Superego separately and then discuss how they work together to form the personality.]

•      Next write about how this theory contributes to our understanding of personality.  In other words, what is the importance of this theory to our understanding of people?

Section 3

•      Choose a famous or influential person—artist, performer, celebrity, political figure, religious figure, etc. (itmay not be someone known only to you, like a family member or friend)—and apply one concept from your theorist’s theory to this person’s life.  Specifically, take one concept from the theory that you discussed in Section 2, define it in your own words, and then use it to understand some facet of this person’s life.

•      For example, if I was using Freud to analyze Anna Nicole Smith’s life, I might discuss how many of her life problems came from an overactive ID and an underdeveloped Superego.  Alternatively, if I was using Freud to analyze Michael Jackson, I might discuss how he failed to resolve the Oedipus Complex, which might account for some of his odd behaviors, particularly around issues of sexuality.  [Note:  You may not use these examples in your paper.]



A note on plagiarism:  It is very easy to be tempted to plagiarize on this paper, particularly in Sections 1 and 2—DON’T DO IT!  Writing for this class must be yours and only yours—completely original and written for the first time by you.  Any words (including direct quotes and paraphrasing) that are not fully and completely the result of your own individual thought process must be cited using APA format.  If plagiarism is found in your paper, you will receive zero points for your paper, and possibly a failing grade in the class and/or an Academic Honesty report.

•      Please note that ALL text references and your reference page should be in APA style (papers not in APA style will have a point reduction).

•      For those of you not familiar with APA style, you should either consult an APA style manual in the library, or the following site can give you useful guidance:


In addition to submitting your assignment to the assignment page, you must also submit it to the Turnitinassignment labeled “Paper-Turnitin.”  Papers not submitted to both places will not be graded. Do NOT send me your paper by email.


You may not include ANY direct quotes in this paper; they are not necessary to accomplish the goals of this paper. ALL work should be in your own words; this is how I will know that YOU fully understand the materials.  ANY paper that has direct quotes (whether they are properly cited or not) will have deductions. ANY paper that features more than 10% of its body as direct quotes (whether properly cited or not) may receive a zero for the assignment.

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Analysis of a Personality Theorist


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