Sheldon's constitutional psychology.
AbstractBecause it is commonly accepted that physical characteristics are linked closely to genetic factors, the suggestion that physical and psychological characteristics are intimately related seems to imply a championing of genetic determinism. It is not surprising that such a conception has been unable to muster much support in the face of the buoyant environmentalism of American psychology. In general, it seems fair to say that American psychologists have largely neglected the study of that important class of variables having to do with the physical description of the body. In the face of this indifference or hostility to the possibility of important associations between structural and behavioral characteristics the work of William H. Sheldon stands as a unique contribution on the contemporary scene. In the present chapter we shall attempt to place Sheldon's work in brief historical perspective and then describe his formulations and investigations. In some respects it may seem unwise to focus so heavily upon the work of a single man when over the years so many have worked in this area. However, Sheldon's work is empirically far superior to that of his predecessors and for the contemporary psychologist it is largely the research of Sheldon and his collaborators that makes this a topic of significance. Constitutional psychology, the theory put forth by Sheldon, refers to "the study of the psychological aspects of human behavior as they are related to the morphology and physiology of the body." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)