explains briefly a theory of personality and a methodology for
applying that theory formulated by John W. Gittinger. It shows
how the PAS can be applied to the understanding of personality
development and to the prediction of behavior. (For more detailed
discussions consult other sections of
One of the
strengths of the PAS methodology is that it permits predictions
to be made on the basis of both readily obtained, objective psychological
test data and also from easily-observable, real-world behavioral
data. The theoretical formulations also have a number of other
special advantages from both the practical and theoretical points
viewpoint of practical application, the way in which the theory
orders data (the model) permits of comparatively specific predictions
concerning expected behavior. The PAS contributes to prediction
in a number of areas, including the following:
- It indicates the kinds of internal and external cues to which the individual is most likely to respond in terms of overt behavior.
- It suggests
the types of stimuli which are most likely to produce behavioral
- It provides an understanding of the quality of the interpersonal, intrapersonal, and impersonal environments in which the person is most likely to behave efficiently, productively and happily -- or inefficiently, unproductively and unhappily.
- It offers insight into what constitute stress situations and
it predicts probable behavioral responses to such conditions.
- It permits
prediction of the probable behavioral manifestations of disfunctional behavior, should they occur.
Behavior to the Model: Inferring Personality Structure
aspects of the Personality Assessment System represent some of
the inferences that can be made about a person's overt behavior,
given that knowledge exists about the internal personality
structure. Conversely, given that knowledge exists about a person's
overt, real-world behavior the PAS allows one to infer the nature
of that person's internal personality structure. Thus the
following statements can also be made about the PAS:
- It allows for direct inferences concerning the individual's inherent personality structure given data about overt, real-world behavior.
- It suggests the nature of changes in the person's personality structure that have resulted in response to social and environmental pressures.
Such changes are central to the PAS theory and its application
and thus lead to the next items:
- The PAS model provides an understanding of the development of personality in terms of the interaction of inherent structure, environmental pressures, and adaptive tendencies.
- It offers a procedure for evaluating the "contact" or surface personality which a person develops over time -- the superficial facade which most of us present to the world but which may crumble in the face of stress or other adversity.
- It makes possible the assessment of the fundamental discrepancies between a person's surface personality and the person's basic personality structure which tends to produce tension, conflict and anxiety and which are the focus of most therapeutic intervention.
pattern of strengths and weaknesses in the individual (the person's
PAS formulation) can be derived on the basis of psychological
test data or from observed behavior. Also, specific and/or typical
behaviors can be predicted given that one knows the PAS formulation.
words, the PAS practitioner can move both directions between the
PAS model and the overt behavior with which that model is associated.
the PAS enables objective comparisons to be made among the personality
features of different individuals, thereby offering a suitable
framework for behavioral research as well as for more definitive
investigtions into personality structure and function. The PAS
theory and method thus provide insights which contribute to clinical
practice, personnel selection, concerns for security, educational
practice, child-rearing and many other areas.