Basic concepts and definitions
The TPS Paradigm explores basic epistemological issues
of research on individuals and their individuality, such as the old scientific
dictum scientia non est
individuorum, the fundamental idea that science seeks regularities and
lawfulness through abstraction and generalisation and thus, cannot be devoted to
exploring individual cases.
A central topic is personality, which can be metatheoretically defined
individual-specificity in various kinds of phenomena, such as behaviour,
experience, physiology and morphology. Individual-specific morphology
(e.g., physique and physiognomy) can be easily identified because these
phenomena change so slowly. But individuals’ behaviour and experiencing
change from moment to moment, making the direct recognition of patterns
that are specific to a given individual impossible. This requires special
methodologies (see Comparative research methodologies).
Publications: Uher (2011a,b, 2013, 2015a,b).
Individual-specific variants versus pertinent social beliefs
An important differentiation is made in the TPS Paradigm
between individual-specific variations in and of themselves and the social beliefs, ideas and values that humans in different sociocultural communities develop, propagate and maintain about
such variations - their pertinent semiotic representations. This explicit differentiation is essential because social belief systems influence people's everyday
practices - such as their judgements and social categorisations of
individuals. But these belief systems need not adequately reflect how
individuals actually behave, think and feel in everyday life (see Observations
Publications: Uher (2013, 2014,
Comparative research methodologies
The TPS Paradigm provides elaborated methodologies for identifying
individual-specificity in momentary and fluctuating phenomena, such as
behaviour and experiencing. It therefore introduces the concept of time-relative
probabilities that allow ratio-scaled data of such
phenomena to be generated and absolute comparisons between individuals to
In order to enable systematic contrasts, the TPS Paradigm comprises novel methodologies for
comparing individuals across situations, groups and species that
were derived from systematically expanding methodologies from
cross-cultural psychology to cross-species psychology using the paradigm's
metatheoretical and methodological foundations.
Systematic comparisons presuppose methodological approaches that allow
for taxonomising individual differences systematically, while
minimising biasing influences from the researchers' preconceived ideas
(e.g., existing models). The TPS Paradigm elaborated the selection and
reduction rationales underlying previous taxonomic approaches used in
various fields. It complements the existing approaches by a novel approach
that allows for systematic
categorisations of individual-specific behaviours, the Behavioural Repertoire x
Behavioural Situations Approach (BRxBS-Approach).
Publications: Uher (2008a,b, 2011a,b, 2013, 2015b,e).
The role of impression formation and 'personality' attribution
in human evolution
The socio-cognitive abilities of humans to quickly form impressions of other individuals and to develop social category systems and a pertinent everyday vocabulary could have been of enormous importance in human evolution: Such abilities enabled our ancestors to
trade with unknown individuals of foreign cultures.
to recognise individual-specific behaviours in some other species, especially mammals,
was fundamental for another key development in recent human history: the domestication of
2013); Uher, Werner & Gosselt (2013).