PSY230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Raymond Cattell, Trait Theory, Gordon AllportPremium
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1. Gordon Allport – “The outstanding characteristic of man is his individuality.
There was never a person just like him, and there never will be again. “
▪ There are different traits that each individual carry to make one unique.
▪ First person to study how traits are related to behavior and what traits
can be used to describe a person’s personality.
▪ He and his colleges went through the entire dictionary to find every
word that can be used to describe a person’s personality. Later on they
reduced down to 450 hundreds of words and trying to group them.
▪ Proposed 2 different approaches to understand individual:
- Nomothetic approach – people can be described along a single
dimension according to their level of a particular trait.
→ thinking about one specific trait.
- Idiographic approach – identifies the combination of traits that
best accounts for the personality of an individual.
→ to combine different traits to figure out a person’s personality.
▪ There are 3 different type of traits that could be used to describe an
I. Cardinal traits – dominates a person’s personality.
→ sum up who they are by only 1 trait.
II. Central traits – traits that best describe a person
→ traits that most people have and greatly consistent with
→ most people have 5 central traits (The big Five)
III. Secondary traits – less relevant traits, only present in certain
→ you will be very disagreeable when you really care about
something. You will argue and stubborn.
2. Henry Murray
▪ Needs – a potential readiness to respond in a certain way under given
▪ Focused on the needs one have that dominates the behavior. (around
- Need for power
→ really care about social status, not necessarily as they want the
achievements, but really care about the power of control over
→ not internally motivated just as like what you’re doing, but the
awards that comes with it.
- Need for achievement
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→ internally motivated to achieve things that they care about, really
care about identity and be able to do well.
- Need for affiliation
→ how much we care about affiliate to other people
→ usually spend a lot of time interacting with other people and get
lonely when surrounded by no one.
3. Raymond Cattell
▪ The first person trying to use statistics to figure out whether traits could
be separated into specific factors.
▪ Factor Analysis – to determine the structure of human personality.
- Usage of questionnaire to figure out which clump does a person’s
personality fall into.
▪ Later he summarized them into 16 factors of traits.
- Working with smaller data set.
- Can be reduced to only 5 traits when working with a large data set.
4. The 5 factor model
▪ Agreeableness – focused on how polite, compassion and care we are.
- High: Helpful/ Empathetic/ Trusting/ cooperative
- Low: Critical/ Suspicious/ Untrusting/ Uncooperative
▪ Conscientiousness – focused on work ethics.
- High: Self-disciplined/ Punctual/ Goal oriented/ Organized/
- Low: Impulsive/ Unfocused/ Disorganized/ Unreliable
▪ Extroversion – focused on sociability.
- High: Friendly/ Excitement seeking/ Assertive/ Enthusiastic
- Low: Reserved/ prefers calm/ Quiet/ Withdrawn
▪ Neuroticism – focused on people that deal things with extreme
- High: Anxiety/ Hostility/ Depression/ Self-conscious
- Low: Calm/ Even-tempered/ Not depressed/ comfortable with self/
▪ Openness/Intellect – focused being intellectually curious, open to new
ideas, interest in art and culture.
- High: imaginative/ Original/ Creative/ Adventurous
- Low: Down-to-earth/ conservative/ conventional/ Unadventurous
• People low on agreeableness tend to have a more successful career as
well as an stable relationship.
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