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University of Guelph
PSYC 2740

CHAPTER 4 Theoretical and Measurement Issues in Trait PsychologyTheoretical IssuesTrait theories of personality offer a collection of viewpoints about the fundamental building blocks of human natureThere are many differences among these theories concerning what constitutes a trait how many traits exist the best methods for discovering basic traits etc but desporte their differences trait theories share 3 important assumptions about personality traits1Meaningful individual differences2Stabilityconsistency over time3Consistency across situations1Meaningful Individual DifferencesoAny meaningful way in which people differ from each other may potentially be identified as a personality trait2Stabilityconsistency Over TimeoAll trait theories assume that there is a degree of consistency in personality over time Ex is someone is highly extraverted during one period of observation trait psychologists will assume that they will also be extraverted tomorrow next week a year from now a decadeoAlthough a trait might be consistent over time the way in which it manifests itself in actual behaviour might change substantially consistency in the underlying trait even though manifestation of that trait changes over timeEx consider the trait of disagreeablenessAs a childtemper tantrums fist poundingundirected rageAs an adulttrouble sustaining personal relationships or jobs hard to get along with oTraits can also decrease in intensity with age ex activity level impulsiveness sociopathy but rank order is maintainedwith a change in a given trait a relative difference rank order remains between individuals
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