PAS Overview - Brief Description of Model

Non-Technical Overview

Why the PAS?

The PAS Symbol system

Applications of the PAS

The PAS Model (brief)

The PAS Model (more in depth)

Deriving a PAS profile

Wechsler Scores and the PAS

Examples of Case Studies

Study of felons

This page 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 this site.)

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 of view.

From the Model to Behavior: Making Predictions

From the 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:

  1. It indicates the kinds of internal and external cues to which the individual is most likely to respond in terms of overt behavior.
  2. It suggests the types of stimuli which are most likely to produce behavioral changes.
  3. 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.
  4. It offers insight into what constitute stress situations and it predicts probable behavioral responses to such conditions.
  5. It permits prediction of the probable behavioral manifestations of disfunctional behavior, should they occur.

From Behavior to the Model: Inferring Personality Structure

The above 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:

  1. It allows for direct inferences concerning the individual's inherent personality structure given data about overt, real-world behavior.
  2. 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:
  3. The PAS model provides an understanding of the development of personality in terms of the interaction of inherent structure, environmental pressures, and adaptive tendencies.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

In Summary...

An individualized 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.

In other words, the PAS practitioner can move both directions between the PAS model and the overt behavior with which that model is associated.

Furthermore, 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.