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The Importance of Idiographic and Nomothetic Studies


            Today there are numerous debates in the field of psychology; however, the one that catches the most attention is idiographic vs. nomothetic. The controversy amongst the two studies first began in nineteenth century Germany between Gustav Schmoller and Carl Menger (Todd). Menger's acclaimed book, Untersuchungen ├╝ber die Methode der Sozialwis-senschaften und der Politischen ├ľkonomie insbesondere, clearly divides psychologists into two categories, the positivists and the subjectivists. Psychologists that follow the study of idiographic information are subjectivists that "want to discover what makes each of us unique." Psychologists that use the study of nomothetic information are positivists and "are mainly concerned with studying what we share with others" (McLeod). There are many different theories on whether idiographic or nomothetic is more important to an individual's psychological status. Most psychologists side with either the idiographic or nomothetic approach; however, both approaches are necessary for understanding the human psychosis. Each study is concerned with different traits of human nature. For a psychologist to understand the problems with a patient, he or she must understand that patient's connection with both the idiographic and nomothetic characteristics. After reading research from multiple psychologists, it is clear that to fully understand humans and the way they act, one must study both idiographic and nomothetic characteristics. .
             "Idiographic approaches are characterised by the belief that every person is unique, and in order to understand the personality of a person, it is important to understand the life trajectory of the individual" (Tyson). In this method, the measurement of traits is considered counterproductive because the response of one person may not be proportionate to another's (Idiographic Approach to Personality).


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