TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY - Farrell's Class Page

TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY - Farrell's Class Page

TRAIT THEORY OF PERSONALITY Understand individuals by breaking down behavior patterns into observable traits, (instead of observable behaviors). Personalities are determined by a combination of traits. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS: 1. Personality Traits are relatively stable, and therefore predictable. 2. Personality Traits are consistent in diverse situations. 3. Each person has a different set or degree of particular traits. GORDON ALLPORT (1897-1967) INFERRING TRAITS FROM BEHAVIOR What people do is a great clue as to personality traits. If a person enjoys, biking, running and hiking, we can infer they are athletic (a trait), if they enjoy mountain climbing and moto-x, we might infer they are adventurous. -We can infer traits by observing people in

natural or experimental settings. ALLPORTS 3 CATEGORIES OF TRAITS Cardinal Traits Central Traits Secondary Traits -Dominates personality across time and situations. -Five to Ten traits that are stable across time and situation. -Characteristics that are only evident in certain situations.

-Building blocks of personality ie. Friendliness, meanness, happiness. -Less obvious and consistent ie. Liking icecream, disliking Rap music -General adjectives that would be used to describe someone -Of less importance to personality theorists. -Most important component of personality ie. Ambition or self-sacrifice.

-Very few people develop a cardinal trait usually late in life. -Basis for most personality theories RAYMOND CATTELL (1905-1998) Cattell condensed thousands of traits to 16 primary traits. The 16 PF (personality factors) test is still in use today. Divided personality traits into 2 categories: SURFACE TRAITS: Behavior we see people engaging in on a regular basis. Easily observed. SOURCE TRAITS: produce the behaviors

we can see. Underlie surface behavior. HANS EYSENCK (1916-1997) Argued that only 2 factors were necessary to explain personality differences. Proposed a 2 factor model to encompass Cattells 16 factors. FACTOR 1: Extraversion-Introversion FACTOR 2: Neuroticism Emotional Stability Costa & McRaes : Five Factor Theory More recent research suggests that 5 personality factors seem to be inherited or at least appear early on in most people. Important to ignore + or connotations with terminology.

Everyone possesses all 5 of these traits to a greater or lesser degree. (Continuum rather than have or not have). EXTRAVERSION INTROVERSION -Engaged with external world - Quiet & low-key -Enjoy being around others - Disengaged from external world dont seek out social involvement -Energetic & enthusiastic - Prefer solitude

-Attention seekers - Require less stimulation than extraverts -Often positive - Shyness sometimes mistaken for unfriendliness AGREEABLENESS DISAGREEABLENESS Value getting along with others Considerate, friendly, generous, helpful Willing to compromise Optimistic view believe that people are basically honest, decent & trustworthy Place self interest above getting

along with others. Unconcerned with others wellbeing, unlikely to extend themselves for others. Skeptical of others motives suspicious, unfriendly, uncooperative While agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining & maintaining popularity, it is not useful in situations requiring tough or absolute decisions. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics or soldiers. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS IMPULSIVITY Contemplation & careful planning. Snap decisions, acting on impulse Persistent, reliable Fun, zany, exciting

Prudence (wise & cautious) Conscientious people are typically considered intelligent by others. Unreliable, lacking ambition Avoid trouble Often successful Can be perceived as stuffy or boring Perfectionists & workaholics Distractibility = smaller, scattered and/or inconsistent accomplishments Responding to impulse short term pleasure, but long term consequences Ie. Drug use - long term effects on health NEUROTIC

STABLE Tendency to experience negative feelings eg. Anxiety, anger, depression Emotionally reactive More intense responses, more likely to interpret situations as threatening or minor frustrations as hopeless difficult Irritability Problems in emotional regulation result in ability to think clearly, make decisions or cope. Less easily upset & emotionally reactive Calm & emotionally stable Free from persistent negative feelings (* Does not necessarily mean an abundance of positive feelings

that falls under extraversion). OPENNESS(TO EXPERIENCE) CLOSE-MINDEDNESS - Imaginative, creative Down-to-earth, conventional - Intellectual curiosity, appreciative of art, sensitive to beauty Narrow, common interests - Ability to think in symbols or abstract terms - More aware of feelings Prefer straightforward and obvious.

Embrace familiarity resistant to change - Individualistic & Non-conformist - Intellectuals often score high on openness but not directly related to intellect. * Although openness is often presented as more mature closed thinking can be more useful. Research shows closed thinkers thrive in areas such as police work, sales & service occupations THE BIG 5 PERSONALITY TEST http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/ http://personality-testing.info/tests/BIG5.php http://psychcentral.com/personality-test/start.php

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