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Mostly taken from: Hergenhahn, B. R. & Olson, M. H. (2007). An Introduction to Theories of Personality (7th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. and DeSouza, E. (2010). Manual for PSY 233 (PIP Packet # 7). Normal, IL: PIP Printing.

positive correlation

Condition that exists when values on tow variables tend to increase or decrease together.


Information obtained about a person from performance on an objective test. The T stands for test.

inductive reasoning

A method (exemplified in Cattell's research) that begins with collection of data, which then leads to hypotheses (also called inductive research).


The superfactor or type in Eysenck's theory that includes traits of aggression, egocentricity, impulsiveness, and creativity, to name a few.


Condition that exists when values on two variables vary together in some systematic way.


The superfactor or type in Eysenck's theory that includes traits of anxiety, depression, guilt, low self-esteem and shyness, to name a few.

negative correlation

Condition that exists when, as values on one variable tend to increase, values on a second variable tend to decrease, and vice versa.

environmental-mold trait

Trait that is determined by experience rather than by heredity.


Constitutional dynamic source trait that provides the energy for all behavior. Much the same as what other theorists call a primary drive. Hunger and thirst are examples of ergs.

hypothetic-deductive reasoning

A method (exemplified in Eysenck's research) that begins with a hypothesis that guides data collection. (also called hypothetico-deductive research)

correlation coefficient

Mathematical expression indicating the extent to which two variables are correlated.

classical conditioning

Type of learning in which a stimulus that did not originally elicit a response is made to do so. Cattell believed many emotional response to persons, objects, or events are learned through classical conditioning.

factor analysis

Complex statistical technique based on the concept of correlation, which Cattell and Eysenck used to discover and investigate personality traits.


Learned predisposition to respond to a class of objects or events in a certain way. A sentiment is one type of metaerg.


Belief that behavior is a function of a finite number of variables, and if those variables were completely known, behavior could be predicted with complete accuracy.

ability trait

Trait that determines how effectively a person works toward a desired goal. Intelligence is such a trait

dynamic trait

Motivational trait that sets a person in motion toward a goal. Cattell postulated the existence of two types of dynamic traits: ergs and metaergs.

constitutional trait

Genetically determined trait.


Concern for oneself that is a prerequisite to the pursuit of any goal in life.


Information provided when people fill out a questionnaire on which they rate themselves on various characteristics. The Q stands for questionnaire.


The superfactor or type in Eysenck's theory that includes the traits of sociability, activity, assertiveness, and sensation-seeking, to name a few.

structured learning

Type of learning that results in rearranging one's personality traits. According to Cattell, this is the most important type of learning.


Composite factors that describe the emotional, motivational and cognitive aspects of behavior. Temperament does not include intelligence or ability.

temperament trait

Constitutional source trait that determines a person's emotionality and style of behaving.

lexical hypothesis

The idea that all necessary information about personality is revealed in everyday language.


Cattell's proposal that scientific facts be utilized to create moral systems rather than religious illusions or philosophical speculation.

source traits

Traits that constitute a person's personally structure and are thus the ultimate causes of behavior. Source traits are causally related to surface traits.


Description of the traits that characterize a group or a nation.

instrumental conditioning

Leaning to make a response that will either make a reward available or remove an aversive stimulus.


In Eysenck's theory, a diagnosis given to severely disordered, introverted neurotics whose symptoms include anxiety, sensitivity, fatigue and exhaustion.

visceral brain

Eysenck's term for the limbic system, a sub cortical brain system that influences the autonomic nervous system.


Sentiments depending on ergs, and attitudes depend on sentiments.


Environmental-mold, dynamic source trait. Much the same as what other theorists called secondary or learned drives.

cluster analysis

Systematic search of a correlation matrix in order to discover factors.


In Eysenck's theory, a diagnosis given to severely disordered, neurotic extroverts whose symptoms may include hysterical conversion(s) such as non-neurological paralysis or blindness.


Information about a person's everyday life. The L stages for life record.


A learned tendency to respond in a particular way in a particular situation to a particular object or event. Attitudes derive from sentiments., which in turn derive from ergs. An attitude is one type of metaerg.

crystallized intelligence

Type of intelligence that comes from formal education or from general experience. It is the type of intelligence that most intelligence tests attempt to measure.


In Eysenck's theory, a higher order factor that encompasses or explains a number of correlated traits or first-order factors.


Type of factor analysis that studies many things about many people.

personality sphere

Universe of source traits in terms of which al humans can be compared. The number of source traits in this universe is as yet undetermined.

dynamic lattice

Diagram showing the relationships among ergs, sentiments and attitudes.

correlation matrix

Display of the many correlation coefficients that result when many sources of information are intercorrelated.

surface traits

Outward manifestations of source traits. These are the characteristics of a person that can be directly observed and measured.


Type of factor analysis that studies how a single individual's traits change over time.


The proportion of variability in the expression of a trait that is attributed to genetics as opposed to environmental influences.

ascending reticular activating system (ARAS)

A network of neurons in the reticular formation of the brain stem that is responsible for cortical arousal and de-arousal.


Ability or characteristic that is thought to be responsible for consistent behavior. In Cattell's system, a factor is also called a trait.


Refers either to a group of interrelated overt behaviors (surface trait) or to the deeper determinant of such interrelated behavior (source traits). The main usefulness of surface traits is that they provide information about source traits.


Indirect satisfaction of an erg. An example is a man developing athletic ability in order to be desirable to a woman who will satisfy his sexual desires.

arousal theory

A general class of theories that assumes behavior is partly a function of the general state of arousal (excitation) or de-arousal (inhibition) of the cortex and/or other brain structures.

ergic tension

Tension that varies as the intensity of an erg varies.

fluid intelligence

General problem-solving ability that is largely innate.

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