Personality [continued]



Some psychologists attempt to characterize personality through the use of distinctive and constant attributes that can be found or observed. This is called trait theories.


Gordon Allport's Trait Theory

Gordon Allport defined personality as the dynamic organization of the psychophysical systems that determine characteristic behavior and thoughts of the individual. Personality involves the interaction of biology and cognition. He believed we could understand the individual's personality through 3 hierarchical personal dispositions:

     Cardinal traits - dominant traits that are expressed in everything a person does. ie a fanatic business person, a religious zealote, [Allport didn't think that there were many people having this disposition]

     Central traits - these form the core of our personality and are developed by our experiences in life. These can be measured on personality tests

     Secondary traits - situation specific traits that help round out our personalities. Such as attitudes, specific behavior patterns, skills, and preferences.


Raymond Cattel's Factor Theory

Raymond Cattel wanted to understand behavior and personality by organizing behaviors and traits in mathematical model. He called this Factor analysis. He defined a trait as the potential of a person to react in a certain way. He used three measures of personality data:

     life records [observations of a person's behavior]

     personal questionnaires [self descriptions]

     objective test [ to identify clusters of traits]


Cattel identified surface traits which were groupings of a persons behavior, source traits, or characteristic more basic to the core of a person's personality. Cattel reviewed the dictionary and found 4000 words that describe about 171 characteristics of a person he eliminated what he consider redundant terms and came up with 16 personality factors:


1.     reserved, unsociable outgoing, sociable

2.  less intelligent, concrete more intelligent, abstract

3.  affected by feelings emotionally stable

4.  submissive, humble dominant, assertive

5.  serious happy go lucky

6.  expedient conscientious

7.  timid venturesome

8.  tough minded sensitive

9.  trusting suspicious

10.        practical imaginative

11. forthright shrewd, calculating

12.        self assured apprehensive

13.        conservative experimenting

14.        group dependent self sufficient

15.        undisciplined controlled

16.        relaxed tense


Cattel developed the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire [16pf] for determining personality.


Eysenck's Trait Model of Personality

Hans Eysenck believed that biology played a major role in personality. He used questionnaires, observations, and physiological measures of personality. He suggested that personality was the interaction of four factors:

Cognitive, conative [character], affective [temperment], somatic [constitution].

Eysenck, proposed that personality consists of behaviors and dispositions arranged in a hierarchy. Further, he looked at behavior that was isolated, called a specific response and behavior that was habituated, habitual response. He defined trait as a collection of related habitual responses. He proposed that there were three major dimensions of personality:

     Introversion versus extraversion

     Neuroticism versus emotional stability

     Psychoticism versus impulse control


Eysenck Personality types



Ensenck suggests that an individual's nervous system reacts to environmental stimulation and influences personality.


Five Factor Personality Model

E.C.Tubes and R.E. Christal reanalyzed Cattell's data and proposed a theory that consists of factors of:




     Emotional stability vs neuroticism

     Openness to experience [culture]

Cross-cultural research suggests that these five factors exist in a number of different cultures.


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