If someone asked you to describe the personality of a close friend, what kind of things would you say? A few things that might spring to mind are descriptive terms such as outgoing, kind and even tempered. All of these represent traits. What exactly does this term mean? A trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic that causes individuals to behave in certain ways. The trait approach to personality is one of the major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are composed of these broad dispositions.
Unlike many other theories of personality, such as psychoanalytic or humanistic theories, the trait ...view middle of the document...
Terms such as intelligent, honest,shy and anxious are considered central traits.
• Secondary Traits: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. Some examples would be getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while waiting in line.
Raymond Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
Trait theorist Raymond Cattell reduced the number of main personality traits from Allport’s initial list of over 4,000 down to 171, mostly by eliminating uncommon traits and combining common characteristics. Next, Cattell rated a large sample of individuals for these 171 different traits. Then, using a statistical technique known as factor analysis, he identified closely related terms and eventually reduced his list to just 16 key personality traits. According to Cattell, these 16 traits are the source of all human personality. He also developed one of the most widely used personality assessments known as the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF).
Eysenck’s Three Dimensions of Personality
British psychologist Hans Eysenck developed a model of personality based upon just three universal trails:
Introversion involves directing attention on inner experiences, while extraversion relates to focusing attention outward on other people and the environment. So, a person high in introversion might be quiet and reserved, while an individual high in extraversion might be sociable and outgoing.
2. Neuroticism/Emotional Stability:
This dimension of Eysenck’s trait theory is related to moodiness versus even-temperedness. Neuroticism refers to an individual’s tendency to become upset or...