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Kapustin S.A. (2017). The contribution of W. James to the understanding of personality as a psychological reality. National Psychological Journal. 1, 64-71.


There are more than a dozen of personality theories in psychology currently. However, among psychologists there is no general agreement in understanding personality as a psychological reality, i.e. the agreement of phenomena opened to introspection and the facts established by observing the activity of the subject and his/her products, all together designated by the term «personality». The authors of these theories are dealing with very different phenomena and facts, sometimes not quite compatible ones, making impossible comparative analysis based on the criterion of adequacy, designed to assess the extent to which the scientific theory corresponds to the psychological reality explained by it.

Thus, it is useful to turn to the analysis of William James’s works in order to clarify the issue of the psychological reality of the person who according to the author did the most thorough job of identifying the basic phenomena and facts that need be referred to using the term «personality». The results of this study allowed to draw the following conclusions.

From James’s point of view, the psychological reality of personality must include the phenomenon of personal ego and the fact of hierarchically organized motivational sphere that has been developed as a result of individual’s self-determination. James’s representations have withstood the test of time, they were in demand by a number of renowned theorists of personality especially those that considered consciousness as a subject matter of scientific psychology. Perpetual interest in James’s concept of personality among theorists turns to be quite durable in time and is a subject matter of psychological reality.

Received: 01/07/2017
Accepted: 02/15/2017
Pages: 64-71
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2017.0108

Sections: Personality Psychology;


Keywords: James’s personality theory; psychological reality of personality; ego; motivational orientation; conscious self-determination;

Available Online 30.03.2017


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For citing this article:

Kapustin S.A. (2017). The contribution of W. James to the understanding of personality as a psychological reality. National Psychological Journal. 1, 64-71.

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