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Lecture 4

PSY230H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Raymond Cattell, Trait Theory, Gordon AllportPremium


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY230H1
Professor
Amanda Sharples
Lecture
4

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Lecture 4
Trait Theories
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
individual
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
different situations.
most people have 5 central traits (The big Five)
III. Secondary traits less relevant traits, only present in certain
situations.
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
circumstance.
Focused on the needs one have that dominates the behavior. (around
26)
- Need for power
really care about social status, not necessarily as they want the
achievements, but really care about the power of control over
others.
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/
Dependable
- 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
emotions.
- High: Anxiety/ Hostility/ Depression/ Self-conscious
- Low: Calm/ Even-tempered/ Not depressed/ comfortable with self/
emotionally stable.
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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