The Postconventional Personality

Assessing, Researching, and Theorizing Higher Development

Edited by Angela H. Pfaffenberger, Paul W. Marko, and Allan Leslie Combs

Subjects: Humanistic Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
Series: SUNY series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology
Paperback : 9781438434643, 282 pages, April 2011
Hardcover : 9781438434650, 282 pages, April 2011

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Table of contents

List of Tables
Introduction: Exceptional Maturity of Personality
An Emerging Field
Angela H. Pfaffenberger and Paul W. Marko


1. Assessing Postconventional Personality: How Valid and Reliable is the Sentence Completion Test?
Angela H. Pfaffenberger

2. My Brain Made Me Do It: Brain Maturation and Levels of Self-Development
Fred Travis and Sue Brown

3. Generating and Measuring Practical Differences in Leadership Performance at Postconventional Action-Logics
Elaine Herdman Barker and William R. Torbert

4. A Report from the Scoring Trenches
Susanne R. Cook-Greuter


5. The Issue of Highest Stages in Structural-Developmental Theories
Tobias Krettenauer

6. Exploring Facilitative Agents that Allow Ego Development to Occur
Paul W. Marko

7. The Postconventional Self: Ego Maturity, Growth Stories … and Happiness?
Jack Bauer

8.Postconventional Ego Development and Self-Transcendencein Religious Renunciates
Heidi Page

9. Leadership at Postconventional Stages of Adult Development
Bill Joiner


10. Is Higher Better? A Review and Analysis of the Correlates of Postconventional Ego Development
Tracie Blumentritt

11. The Challenge of Ego Development: Intentional versus Active Development
Laura King

12. Transcendent Experience and Development of the Postrepresentational Self
Dennis Heaton

13.Believing As If: Postconventional Stages, Cognitive Complexity, and Postformal Religious Constructions
James Meredith Day

14. A Dynamical View of the Personality in Evolution
Allan Combs and Stanley Krippner

15. The Prism Self Revisited: The Matter of Integrity
Judith Stevens-Long

List of Contributors

Cutting edge volume devoted to optimal adult development.


Postconventional stages of personality development involve growth well beyond the average, and have become a rapidly growing subject of research not only in developmental psychology circles, but also in areas such as executive leadership development. The present work is the first to bring together many of the major researchers in the field, showcasing diverse perspectives ranging from the spiritual to the corporate. The contributors present research on essential questions about the existence and prevalence of high levels of personal growth, whether such achievement is correlated with other kind of psychological growth, whether high levels of growth actually indicate happiness, what kinds of people exhibit these higher levels of development, how they may have developed this expanded perspective, and the characteristics of their viewpoints, abilities, and preoccupations. For anyone interested in Ken Wilber's integral psychology as well as those in executive coaching, this volume is an invaluable resource and will be a standard reference for years to come.

Angela H. Pfaffenberger has a PhD in psychology and is an independent researcher in personality theory. She maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist and acupuncturist in Salem, Oregon. Paul W. Marko has a PhD in psychology from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center. He is a developmental psychologist who works with both organizations and individuals. Allan Combs is Professor of Transformative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. His many books include Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness.


"This is an excellent resource for those interested in psychometrics collections and in transpersonal/humanistic psychology and life-span development … A solid companion to other titles in the 'SUNY Series in Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology.'" — CHOICE

"[This is a convention-breaking book that makes a much-needed contribution to the field. Its varied scholarly chapters explore the far reaches of human growth and potential—including the oft-neglected dimension of personality development. Chapters are written by veteran researchers and exemplars in adult development studies. Included are wonderfully creative theoretical explorations on personality development as well as original contributions that push the envelope of spiritual and religious development to unprecedented lengths. ]The Postconventional Personality is an exceptional compilation reflecting years of research on postformal and postconventional development. As the culmination of such research, it should, in turn, challenge all developmentalists to do more, to be bolder, to take risks. This volume will exhort academicians and researchers alike to think more creatively about the limitless possibilities for human development at the postconventional level and beyond." — Melvin E. Miller, coeditor of Self and No-Self: Continuing the Dialogue between Buddhism and Psychotherapy

"This book is the best place to go for current views on late-stage ego-development theory, practice, and measurement. It clarifies the promise and importance of these methods and models that stem from Loevinger (and H. S. Sullivan), but also explores the limitations and blind spots inherent in these methods. This is an excellent contribution to scholarly literature about the further reaches of human potential." — Zachary Stein, Developmental Testing Service