Explanation of the Constitutional Theory

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Explanation of the Constitutional Theory

Explanation of the Constitutional Theory


Abstract

The topic of this paper is the Constitutional Theory, created by William Sheldon. In order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, we will break down and discuss the history, development, uses, criticisms, and relevance of this theory. Sheldon, who was a Doctor in the field of psychology, obtained his degree from the University of Chicago. He then attended the University of Oregon Medical School, where he became a professor of medicine. He also became the director of the constitution clinic. This clinic examined the correlations between physical characteristics and disease. He wanted to research the different body types amongst people and see if there was any correlation between body types and personalities. During that time, body type was not something that was commonly documented or observed. So, in an attempt to gain a large sampling, he was able to observe 4,000 college students who consented to his research. Thus, three extremes came from this, being Endomorphic which is Fat/Round, Mesomorphic which is Muscular/Square, and Ectomorphic which is Thin/Linear. The Constitutional theory is not used often in the criminal justice field due to its inconsistencies and lack of evidence, but it is used in the nutritional and physical fitness fields in order to provide a deeper understanding of people’s bodies and their needs.


Explanation of the Constitutional Theory

The topic of this paper is the Constitutional Theory, created by William Sheldon. In order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the subject, we will break down and discuss the history, development, uses, criticisms, and relevance of this theory.

History of the Constitutional Theory

In order to fully understand the Constitutional Theory, we must look at the history and how this theory came to be. It was developed by a gentleman named William Sheldon who was a Doctor in the field of psychology, which he obtained from the University of Chicago. He then attended the University of Oregon Medical School, where he became a professor of medicine. He also became the director of the constitution clinic. This clinic examined the correlations between physical characteristics and disease. (Britannica.com). He also became the director of research at the Biological Humanics Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a very well educated and respected within the academic community. He was influenced by William James who was an American philosopher and psychologist. With this influence, Sheldon developed the belief that the psychological makeup of humans had biological foundations.

He wrote two books that outlined his theory called The Varieties of Human Physique (1940) and The Varieties of Temperament (1942). In these two books he divides people into three different types: Endomorphs, which are people who are rounded and soft. They have a “viscertonic” personality, which means that they are relaxed, comfortable, and extroverted. Mesomorphs are people who are square and muscular. The typical personality associated with them is “somotonic”, meaning that they are potentially active, dynamic, assertive, and aggressive. Ectomorphs are people who are thin and fine-boned. They have a “cerbrotonic” personality meaning that they are introverted, thoughtful, inhibited, and sensitive. He calls these three types Somatotypes. He believed that by examining a persons’ physical characteristics, you could potentially predict the signs of a criminal or other attribute a person may have.