ABSTRACT

The majority of psychological research does not help us to understand particular persons and predict how they will act in everyday life or react to psychological interventions. To date, psychological research has produced no laws that govern persons’ experiences and actions in the way that laws of physical science precisely account for the movements and characteristics of physical objects under clearly stated conditions. To understand particular persons and their lives requires more contextualized, situated, interactive, interpretive, empathic, and focused forms of inquiry typical of history, biography, and the humanities. Psycho-biography can be especially useful for mapping the social psychological emergence of persons and their capabilities but other forms of life writing also provide a rich resource of methodological possibility for a psychology of personhood.