Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality

The concept of “personality” has given rise to a wide variety of theories that attempt to explain what it is and how it can be measured and studied. Some authors have attempted throughout history to develop a theoretical model that allows the integration of different existing theories with a general theory that explains the existence of individual differences.

One of the most ambitious proposals in this regard is the Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality.

    What is Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality?

    Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality is an integrative theory of different theories referring to the study of personality and individual differences. Specifically general systems theory, factor analysis and experimental methodology.

    This theory is based on the consideration that the behavior is not caused by a single factor but the origin of this is multiple (integrating biological and social factors).

    He also considers personality to be a stable construct over time although it may vary over the course of life or in different situations and is aimed at achieving goals and seeking personal meaning. Finally, it also starts from the idea that in all different areas of the psyche individual differences can be found.

    It is a model which considers that each person, although he can be compared to others having all the concrete characteristics, possesses them in a different degree from all the others. so they make you a unique individual. It is a general and introductory model, very ambitious, on which different research is necessary.

      Personality within the model: what is it and what is it for?

      The model proposed by Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality considers personality generically, as an organization of systems which allow to translate, transform and integrate psychic information. This is more detailed in the structure proposed by these authors.

      From the point of view of its function, it is established that the main purpose of personality is to find meaning in the world and in the person himself, so that he tries to make reality more manageable.

      Personality gives rise to different aspects such as emotions, beliefs, values, lifestyle, personal identity and how to conceptualize reality.

        A structure in three major systems

        Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality states that within the personality are six hierarchically organized systems, which can be grouped into three categories based on their function and complexity. These categories allow divide them into translator, transformer and integrator systems. The different systems are acquired throughout development, starting with the translators to build as the rest grows.

        1. Translation systems

        The concept of translation system of the theory of individuality of Royce and Powell refers to all the components of the person that allow, as the name suggests, to translate the stimulation so that the inside passes to the outside. and the outside to the inside.

        Within these systems sensory system and motor system are found. In both cases, temporality and spatiality can be found as a subsystem, so that a process of sequential and simultaneous translation is carried out.

        Sensory system

        It refers to the set of elements that it allows capture the external reality so that external information can be processed by other systems.

        motor system

        On this occasion, the motor system refers to the set of processes that allow energy to flow to act. In other words, the motor system is responsible for the execution of the movement.

        2. Transformer systems

        Transformation systems are those responsible for processing information obtained or directed by or to translation systems. Systems in transformation include the cognitive system and the affective system.

        Cognitive system

        The cognitive system is the main function is to transform and work the information of the environment so that help us understand the environment.

        Within it, they can observe as subsystems the perception or the mechanism by which we manipulate information coming from the outside, the conceptualization (equivalent to intelligence in this model) as the way in which concepts are formed from of transformation of data into verbal and abstract material and extracting information about the relationships between elements, and symbolizing or creating metaphorical constructions based on this data.

        affective system

        The affective system is the one that best allows us to see the influence of other personality theories on Royce and Powell’s theory of individuality. This system transforms information captured from the outside to produce alterations in the level of mental and physical activation. It conforms to the emotional stability, emotional independence, and extraversion-introversion subsystems.

        3. Systems integration

        The third and most important element in explaining individual behavior and differences is the group of integrating systems, the main function of which is to Direct how you will handle information and what that would mean in previous systems. Within integrative systems are style and value systems.

        Style system

        The main function of the style system is to determine how the information will be handled, directly affecting transformer systems so it affects the way we see the world and the kind of affectivity we have.

        The style system in turn comprises three subsystems: the empirical which deals with aspects such as reliability at the cognitive level and the introversion of extroversion at the cognitive level, the rational in which at the cognitive level allows conceptualization time that maintains independence on an emotional level and the metaphor in which symbolization and emotional stability are allowed.

        System of values

        The value system it guides people’s beliefs and motivations, Provide interests and needs. Within the value system we can find three major subsystems: the self, the social and the intrinsic.

        The self-system is the one that regulates self-preservation and identity, as well as the patterns of behavior we usually employ. It is related to the emotional stability and ability to symbolize. The social system is responsible for the procedures that delimit the type of interaction we have with others and their perception. Finally, the intrinsic system is linked to motivation and goal orientation, allowing the generation of concepts and our independence.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Hernangómez, L. and Fernández, C. (2012). Personality and differential psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 07. CEDE: Madrid.
        • Bermúdez, J. (2004). Personality psychology. Theory and Research (Vol. I and II). UNED didactic unit. Madrid.

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