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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Traits (part 1)

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Connie Boudens

TraitApproach: Part I Trait = a consistent pattern of behavior, emotion, and thought Personality = sum of all traits Trait theories provide descriptions that must be explained by other theories Theorists try to establish:  framework  taxonomy Approaches to discovering traits Lexical Statistical (Empirical) Theoretical Common Traits and Trait Continua • Common traits = traits shared by all • Behaviours can be represented on trait continuum • Scores assumed to be normal distributed • Ordering people along these dimensions is nomothetic approach used in most trait theories • Compares people along the same personality dimensions • Contrast with idiographic approach • In-depth study of individuals GordonAllport Key Ideas  Idiographic approach  Uniqueness = Combination of traits  Use of diaries, interviews, behavioural observations, q-sort etc. Traits • Internal structures that render many stimuli functionally equivalent and yield similar adaptive and expressive behaviours. • Traits express what a person generally does across situations • Inconsistency does not mean that traits doesn’t exist - situations also have influence Three types of traits… • Cardinal • Central • Secondary Raymond Cattell  Empirical approach to trait theory  Reduction of 4,500 trait words (left byAllport) to 16 most basic personality dimensions Major Divisions of Traits • Constitutional (biological) vs. environment-mold (learned) • Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic • Surface vs. source vs. second-order Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic traits Ability • Skill in dealing with complexity • = intelligence • Fluid • Crystallized Temperament • General traits that appear present early Dynamic traits • Motivations • Ambition, competitiveness, etc. Surface vs. Source Traits • Surface traits: superficial • Source traits: deeper, more comprehensive FactorAnalysis Summarizes how a large # of variables are related • Many different measures administered to many respondents • Some scores will be positively correlated; others negatively correlated • Correlations might reflect more basic, underlying fa
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