TRAIT THEORY PERSONALITY THINKING Think about one of your friends or a
member of your family and write down eight words that describe their personality. TRAIT THEORIES
Personality trait: a personality characteristic that endures (lasts) over time and across different situations. Trait theories of personality focus on measuring, identifying and describing individual differences in
personality in terms of traits. ASSUMPTIONS 1. Personality traits are relatively stable and predictable over time. 2. Personality traits are relatively stable in different situations.
3. Personality consists of a number of different traits, some people have more or less of each trait than others. 4. Some traits are closely interrelated than others and occur together.
CONTINUUM Trait theorists usually describe traits on a continuum Example: Continuum for confidence GORDON ALLPORT (18971967)
GORDON ALLPORT (18971967) Searched the entire dictionary for words that could describe personality 17, 953 Eliminated synonyms e.g. nasty, horrible, mean, awful and spiteful Eliminated words not often used e.g.
chrematistic and stultiloquent Left 4500 words ALLPORT Organised words into 3 categories cardinal, central and secondary traits Arranged 3 categories into a
hierarchy ALLPORT TRAIT CATEGORIES Cardinal Trait: these are traits that dominate an individuals whole life, often to the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits. Allport suggested that cardinal
traits are rare and tend to develop later in life. ALLPORT TRAIT CATEGORIES Central Trait: general characteristics that form the basic foundations of personality. These central traits, while not as dominating as cardinal traits,
are the major characteristics you might use to describe another person. Independence, trustworthiness, competitiveness, possessiveness, kindness, sensitivity, fearlessness ALLPORT TRAIT CATEGORIES
Secondary Trait: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. i.e. getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while waiting in line.
Secondary traits are characteristics more specific to certain situations and control far less behaviour. ALLPORT EXAMPLE ACTIVITY
Using Allports trait theory and based on the example of Martin Maloney on the previous slide, write a personality profile for yourself or someone you know. HANS EYSENCK (1916-1997)
HANS EYSENCK Used factor analysis to reduce Cattels 16 factors to 2 (he added a 3rd in 1970s) Preferred term dimensions of personality
Continuum Introversion Extraversion Neuroticism Emotional stability Psychoticism Possible combinations of first 2
RESEARCH Individual differences of personality due to: Genetic make-up (tendency to be low or high) Research Identical twins obtain similar scores on personality trait tests
Functioning of brain and nervous system Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) TRAIT THEORIES - STRENGTHS
Provide useful descriptions of personality and its structure Basis for development of reliable and valid personality tests Tell us: Why we develop the traits we have How we come to have the combinations we
do Why we have more or less of particular traits Why traits are enduring and stable across different situations TRAIT THEORIES LIMITATIONS Lead people to use oversimplified
classifications and descriptions of people human personality too complex to be described by simple labels Under-estimate the way(s) in which specific situations and socio-cultural factors influence behaviour
Identification of personality traits through statistical procedures
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