Theories of Personality 9th Edition

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98 Part II Psychodynamic Theories

(though small) differences between first- and later-born children in the realms of aca-
demic achievement, conventionality and risk-taking. As well, within-family designs are
best suited to examine whether birth order effects are due to dynamics that occur in
families, where later-born siblings may engage in “de-identification” (finding one’s
niche by observing what older siblings do and then finding a way to do the opposite),
versus due to some prenatal or biological cause. Here again there is some support for
Adler’s theory that such effects are indeed social, and due to the constellation dynam-
ics in families.

Early Recollections and Career Choice

Do early recollections predict career choice among young students? Adler believed
that career choices reflect a person’s personality. “If ever I am called on for voca-
tional guidance, I always ask the individual what he was interested in during his
first years. His memories of this period show conclusively what he has trained
himself for most continuously” (Adler, 1958, as quoted in Kasler & Nevo, 2005,
p. 221). Researchers inspired by Adler therefore predicted that the kind of career
one chooses as an adult is often reflected in one’s earliest recollections.
In order to test this hypothesis, Jon Kasler and Ofra Nevo (2005) gathered
earliest memories from 130 participants. These recollections were then coded by two
judges on the kind of career the memory reflected. The recollections were classified
using Holland’s (1973) vocational interest types, namely Realistic, Investigative,
Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (see Table 3.3 for description of these
interest types). For example, an early recollection that reflects a social career interest
later in life was: “I went to nursery school for the first time in my life at the age of
four or five. I don’t remember my feelings that day but I went with my mother and
the moment I arrived I met my first friend, a boy by the name of P. I remember a clear
picture of P playing on the railings and somehow I joined him. I had fun all day”
(Kasler & Nevo, 2005, p. 226). This early recollection centers around social interac-
tion and relationships. An example of an early recollection that reflects a realistic
career interest was: “When I was a little boy, I used to like to take things apart,
especially electrical appliances. One day I wanted to find out what was inside the
television, so I decided to take a knife and break it open. Because I was so small I
didn’t have the strength and anyway my father caught me and yelled at me” (Kasler
& Nevo, 2005, p. 225).
Career interest of participants was assessed by a self-report measure, the Self-
Directed Search (SDS) questionnaire (Holland, 1973). The SDS measures vocational
interests, which were independently categorized into the same six Holland types
that early recollections were placed into. The researchers therefore had early recol-
lections and adult career interests both classified into the six career types, and they
wanted to examine whether early recollections matched career interest.
Kasler and Nevo (2005) found that early recollections in childhood did match
career type as an adult, at least for the three career types that were well represented
in their sample (Realistic, Artistic, and Social). The general direction of a partici-
pant’s career path could be identified from themes seen in early recollections. These
vignettes are consistent with Alder’s view of early recollections and demonstrate
how style of life may relate to occupational choice.
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