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Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography: The Character Motivations of the ‘Ordinary’ Extraordinary

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Part of the Sociocultural Psychology of the Lifecourse book series (SPL)

Abstract

For over a century, psychobiography has focused on the eminent individual who has achieved historical or social recognition. Ignoring the character strengths of the ‘ordinary’ individual who has reached a significant and noteworthy personal milestone is a disservice to psychology and those who might benefit from its research. Some experts claim that embracing a psychobiographic focus on the ordinary individual would pervert the process, some open the door for innovation, and others have, unwittingly, provided templates. The psychological benefits seem apparent when consideration of the character strengths and virtues of the ordinary extraordinary supplement psychobiographic research. Their motivations are no less extraordinary or worthy of consideration than those of the accomplished individual who has achieved historical or social recognition; each complement psychological research both generally and topically.

Keywords

  • Psychobiography
  • Maslow
  • Positive psychology
  • Human potential

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Fig. 13.1

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Mullen, R.F. (2021). Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography: The Character Motivations of the ‘Ordinary’ Extraordinary. In: Mayer, CH., Fouché, P.J., Van Niekerk, R. (eds) Psychobiographical Illustrations on Meaning and Identity in Sociocultural Contexts . Sociocultural Psychology of the Lifecourse . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81238-6_13

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