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Five Factor Model Of Personality. Refers To Theories Of Allport And Oddbert, Mc Adams, Eyesenck, Mischel, Block, Both Costa And Mc Crae, Goldberg And Saucier

2106 words - 8 pages

The precise definition of personality has been a point of discussion amongst many differenttheorists within many different disciplines since the beginning of civilisation. Personality can bedefined as 'the distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour that definean individual's personal style and influence his or her interactions with the environment' (Atkinson,Atkinson, Smith & Bem, 1993: 525). It can be proposed that personality psychology has twodifferent tasks. 'The first involves specifying the variables on which individuals differ from oneanother. The second involves synthesising the psychological processes of human functioning into anintegrated account of the total person' (Atkinson et al., 1993: 532). There are many different theoriesof personality and many different theorists. The purpose of this essay is to examine the trait approach,specifically the five-factor model. Both the development and limitations of the Five-Factor model ofpersonality shall be discussed.Trait theory is based on several assumptions. The first assumption is that any differencebetween people that is seen as significant will have a name. Secondly, these names, known as traits,are conceived of as continuous dimensions. In general, trait theories assume that people varysimultaneously on a number of personality factors. These traits are of both the conjunctive anddisjunctive form. Therefore, to understand a trait, it is necessary to understand what a particular traitis and what type of behaviour is evidence of that trait. (Atkinson et al., 1993). Five factor theorists areone set of trait theorists. The claim of five factor theorists is that behaviour can be best predicted andexplained by measurement of five dominant personality factors. The five factor theory is a fairlyrecent proposal and has its basis in earlier work, which shall be discussed.One of the statistical techniques most commonly used in the study of personality is that offactor analysis:By identifying groups of highly intercorrelated variables, factor analysis enables us todetermine how many underlying factors are measured by a set of p original variables. In otherwords, factor analysis is used to uncover the factor structure of a set of variables. (Diekhoff,1992: 333)A factor analysis will generally show that a smaller number of factors represents the same informationas the original number of variables. Once the variables making up the factors have been identified,some of the redundant variables may be removed (Diekhoff, 1992). As such, a large number of traitsmay be reduced to a number of personality factors. The procedure of factor analysis was a significantpart of both the development and criticism of the five personality factor theory, as well as the theorieson which it is based.An experiment conducted by Allport and Oddbert (1936, cited in Goldberg, 1990) was basedon the assumption that a dictionary contains a list of every possible trait name. Oddbert and...

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