Culture and Personality Studies, 1918–1960: Myth and History



The field known as “culture and personality studies” in the middle decades of the 20th century was a precursor of contemporary cross-cultural research on personality. Its rejection by anthropologists and sociologists after 1950 was accompanied by stereotypes that have hardened into myth and obscured its character and relevance for contemporary investigators. This article dispels some prevalent misconceptions (concerning its chronology, its theoretical unity, its positions on individual differences and its relationship to Freudian psychoanalysis) and proposes a tentative explanation of its decline.