Personality: Trait Theory


Terms in this set (...)

Gordon Allport
Trait Theory*
Traits (Definition)
A predisposition to respond in the same way to different stimuli or circumstances. This involves consistency. For example: people with a certain trait will seek out opportunities to express it.
Three Types of Traits
1) Cardinal
2) Central
3) Secondary
Cardinal Traits
rare: most people do not have these traits; they are qualities or characteristics that account for all or most of one's personality. considered pathological. ex: Scrouge
Central Traits
traits that are easily observable and often expressed. the average person has 5-10 of these that make up their personality. This is what psychologists study.
Secondary Traits
qualities and characteristics that are much less observable, and are not expressed as much. They are inconspicuous, for example one's specific attitudes about specific things.
Common Traits
qualities and characteristics with which you could compare and contrast all members of a culture. Ex: socialbility
Individual Traits
individual peculiarities that don't permit comparison; only you have it. If you want to understand someone, you have to understand theses=they make one person distinct from another.
The Proprium (Definition)
The "Me" that each of us experiences of ourselves; the private things that only you can experience of yourself.
The seven aspects of the Proprium
1) sense of bodily self
2) self identity
3) self-esteem/pride
4) self-extension
5) self-image
6) sense of self as a rational coper
7) sense of self in propriate striving
Sense of Bodily Self
Ex: pain, pleasure, exertion. physical sense of self.
Self Identity
the "you" that you experience when you look in a mirror. You attach your self and name to that image.
Self Esteem/Pride
Your evaluation of yourself.
Self Extension
the sense of self as you relate to other people and things. School or family can be sources of feedback for ourselves.
Self Image
your sense of how others view you. the more realistic this sense is the more healthy you are.
Sense of Self as a Rational Coper
your sense of self as a problem solver, decision maker, and thinker.
Sense of Self in Propriate Striving
you sense of self in terms of planing, making goals, and sense of the future.
View of Motivation
Functional autonomy; a counter to Freud's view: present motivations are independent and separate from whatever motivation your motivation was in the beginning. The idea that motivation changes over time due to environment. ex: scrouge
The Healthy Person
1) involved externally: in the world)
2) capable of intimacy, close relationships, and compassion for others.
3) accepts himself/herself as they are: this must be a realistic view of one's self)
4) have a realistic view of the world: they must see how it is, not how they hope it is.
6) have effective skills: something to offer to society.
7) committed to work
8) must have a good sense of humor: not based on hostility or degrading others.
9: must have a unifying philosophy of life; including a conscious set of values. one must have contemplated and considered one's values and come up with their own set of values.
Research on Allport's theory
idiographic study; "Letters from Jenny"
idiographic research
research that focuses intensely on one case at a time; a very in depth study.
Henry Murray
Personology; contemporary of Allport. Created TAT
a projective test in which subjects look at and tell a story about ambiguous pictures; Thematic Apperception Test
a combination of psychoanalysis and trait theory.
Personality (Def)
a theoretical construct in the brain that organizes behavior and accounts for the "sameness over time" in the person. Consists of:
1) Consistency
2) Regent processes
taps into Allports view of consistency
Regant Processes
ruling processes; the brain or biological forces ruled over and organized personality
Need Theory
Forces in the brain that activates and organizes your psychological functioning. ex: hunger can influence your perception so that you only see/think of food.
Types of Needs
1) Vicerogenic
2) Psychogenic (27)
3) Overt
4) Covert
bodily needs; ex: body temp, hunger, sex, etc.
27 of them; needs that are psychological in nature; ex: need for achievement, need for affiliation, need for dominance, need with nurturance
need for achievement
the need to accomplish difficult, meaningful, tasks/to show competence.
need for affiliation
the need to be close to others, win affection, to be friends, with others.
need for dominance
the need to control, exert influence on other people.
need with nurturance
the need of one to give help/support to someone else.
Over psychological needs
psychological needs that are obvious, the ones we are aware of; they are not the most important in the study of personality according to Murray
Covert psychological needs
psychological needs that are unconscious and influence personality. we are generally not aware of these and have to undergo analysis to recognize them in ourselves.
Murray's concept that accounts for environmental/situational influence on our behavior.
Press (Def)
"aspects of environment that either help satisfy or block meeting our needs"
Murray's Formula for Press
Need X Press = behavior
ex: hunger
Need to Eat X Pizza in Dorm = Eat Pizza
Relationship btwn needs and press
1) Thema
2) Serial thema
3) Unity thema
a need by press interaction
Serial Thema
themas that occur over and over for people
ex: exercise X gym = exercising at gym everyday
needs to have consistency
Unity thema
a collection (unique system) of needs and press that characterize you as an individual; very close to Allports "traits"
Murray's Research
idiographic; Harvard Med Study: got a team of researchers from different social science and science traditions and focused intensely on a single case. there ended up being 50 cases.
Raymond Cattell
trait theory/ factor analysis
Personality (Def)
a person's personality traits are qualities that will allow us to predict what the person will do in the future.
Structure of Personality: Traits
Definition: qualities that we observe and infer from a person's behavior that account for consistency in their behavior.
Surface Traits
collections of observable behaviors that are similar. ex: if you beat up people all the time, someone can infer a trait of hostility and aggressiveness.
Source of Traits
deeply underlying qualities/characteristics that gave rise to the more observable traits. holy grail of personality theories
Three types of Traits
1) ability
2) temperament
3) dynamic
skills/competences; can distinguish people because some people are good at things and some aren't. ex: can observe dexterity from someone's use of a keyboard
emotional qualities; everyone has a measurable, identifiable temperament that is made up of different feelings. ex: some people may score very high on anger or low on love.
motivation or goal setting; what are the goals in your life that drive you? ex: some people have a high need of achievement or a low need for display (being the center of attention
How to identify the source of traits?
factor analysis.
factor analysis
one can use this statistical procedure to identify these source traits; statistical procedure for taking tons and tons of data and bringing it down to a couple underlying themes that tie those pieces together; find out which things are correlated with one another.
Three sources for data
L-data, Q-data, OT-data
Life data; artifacts or records from the person's life that can tell you something about the person. ex: report cards, check book.
questionnaire data, standardized instruments (like Cattell's 16PF)
observational data; arrange tasks or situations to put people to into to measure something, and then watch what they did. ex: candid camera.
Cattell's assumptions about this data
all data should show the same results, but the outcome was not so consistent.
limitations of data
different ways to do factor analysis which gives different answers; never became clear that the factor you would get were the same across samples or across ages.
McCrae & Costa
Big 5 Trait Theory; a significant amount of everyone's personality could be explained by 5 trait; acronym: CANOE
organized, very careful, very disciplined, many college kids score high on this.
kind, trusting, cooperative, good quality in the work setting for colleages
very anxious, uptight, insecure about themselves, self-pitying, good to score low on this
lots of variety, independent, trying things on their own, imaginative, creative, willing to get involved in different kinds of things, openness to new experiences.
very sociable, affectionate, demonstrative, fun-loving, good quality in friends.