In Pathways to Individuality, veteran researcher and scholar Arnold Buss examines the personality traits we share with other animals — and those that set us apart from other animals, the social traits that make us distinctly human.

Within those general social traits, there's much variability, as Buss explains in this new book, usually differentiated during the crucial periods of human development — and that's what makes us individuals.

Humans make up the only species that has an extended period of childhood — we play and explore more than other animals — during which our human traits become canalized and differentiated: Our early interactions with our social environment influence and sharpen the neural and behavioral pathways that distinguish our distinct individuality. In turn, we seek to influence those environments we are drawn to and that help shape our individuality.

Drawing from his own published research over a half-century of teaching and writing on personality, Buss masterfully summarizes key theories and recent advances in the study of temperament (aggression, dominance, etc.), the self (self-conscious shyness, self-esteem, identity), and abnormal behavior and style as crucial dimensions in understanding personality and individual differences.

Table of Contents


I. Theory

  1. Evolution
  2. Development

II. Temperament and Other Personality Traits

  1. Temperament I: Activity and Emotionality
  2. Temperament II: Sociability and Impulsiveness
  3. Later-Developing Traits: Sensation Seeking, Aggression, and Dominance

III. The Self

  1. Self I: Self-Consciousness
  2. Self II: Self-Esteem and Identity

IV. Dimensions

  1. Personality and Abnormality
  2. Style




About the Author

Author Bio

Arnold H. Buss, PhD, is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, where he has also been head of the Personality Graduate Program (1969–1986) and head of the Graduate Clinical Training Program (1990–1992). Dr. Buss received his BA from New York University in 1947 and his PhD from Indiana University in 1952.

Before joining the UT Psychology Department's faculty in 1969, Dr. Buss was an instructor at the University of Iowa (1951–1952), chief psychologist at Indianapolis's Carter Hospital (1952–1957), and professor at the University of Pittsburgh (1957–1965) and Rutgers University (1965–1969). He received his diplomate in clinical psychology in 1956.

Dr. Buss is the author or coauthor of close to a dozen books on psychology and personality, including The Psychology of Aggression (1961), Self-Consciousness and Social Anxiety (1980), Social Behavior and Personality (1986), and Psychological Dimensions of the Self (2001). He has published nearly 100 professional journal articles and chapters in edited volumes on aggression, temperament, self-consciousness, and shyness.

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