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Character NICHD

London, Perry; Rosenhan, David
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institute of Mental Health, Emotional Development, Moral Values, Parent Role, Personality, Personality Development, Personality Traits


This chapter is a discussion of "character" in all three generally used meanings of the term: 1) descriptive — as distinctiveness, uniqueness or peculiarity; 2) evaluative—mental and moral attributes; and 3) technical—stability of important personality traits over time. The focus of the chapter is restricted to positive aspects of character—traits such as honesty, courage, altruism, and independence of mind—not on psychopathology. The discussion includes description of the characteristics of good character, the development of character, the biological characterology of Sigmund Freud, the characterology of Eric Fromm, social character (tradition-, inner- and other-directedness), empirical studies of character, Piaget's views of the development of morality, and the agents of character building (the family, community, society).

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