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PY 405 - History and Systems

Catalog & Credo (Find Biographies & Information on Theories)

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Psychobiography Paper

Choose a theorist that interests you.

1. Educate yourself on the theory, make sure you have a good working knowledge of what the theorist is trying to convey. 

2. Research your chosen theorist’s background. Look at their early developmental history, where they were raised, the nature of their relationships with parents and siblings, values that were instilled during their upbringing, and other relevant aspects of their socialization and interpersonal dynamics.

3. Where did the theorist attend college? Identify the person’s mentors and explore their relationships with them. How did this shape and influence the theory?

4. Research the cultural context of your theorist's life their life during the development of the theory. What sociocultural, sociopolitical, etc., influences may have been present, affecting the theorist’s point of view? What was the Zeitgeist of the times?

5. When you have gathered all of your information, analyze how/why the theorist may have developed this particular theory because of the influences you have identified. In some cases, there may be historical records (of varying degrees of reliability) that document and explore these influences. Those may be referenced, but be cautioned to evaluate the sources for validity before drawing conclusions. Otherwise, take what you have learned up to this point regarding your theorists, their backgrounds, their potential/probable influences, and their theory into account, engaging in educated speculation for your analysis.

Write a 6-8 page APA style paper with the following components:

o   Introduce the theorist and review their life to include relevant early experiences, their education, mentors, and cultural influences (remember that time is a part of culture!).

o   Present their theory. Provide a synopsis, hitting the highlights (the foundational points of the theory), and identifying specific aspects that are essential to the understanding of the theory.

o   Provide a critical (not negative, but employing critical thinking) analysis, integrating the information you have gathered to explore how the identified influences may have played a role in the in the development of the theory.

o   Close your paper with a brief exploration of the theorist’s legacy. Comment on the current state of the theorist’s particular school of thought and his/her general reputation in the field as it is today.