Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_480-1



Psychobiography, or psychological biography, is most accurately defined as “the intensive life-span study of an individual of historic significance in socio-cultural context using psychological and historiographic research methods and interpreted from established theories of psychology” (Ponterotto 2015, p. 379). Psychobiography is classified as a subdivision of psychohistory, which is concerned with the psychological study of significant groups or events throughout history. For example, the study of the origins, key characters, and development of psychoanalysis as a system of psychology at the turn of the twentieth century would constitute a psychohistory, whereas an intensive psychological profile of Sigmund Freud would be a psychobiography. Psychobiography focuses on the inner psychological drives and motivations that led to the historic subject’s thinking, feeling, and behavior during their lifetime.


Psychobiography has been...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fordham UniversityNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Czarna
    • 1
  1. 1.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland