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Ch 9: Trait Theory

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Psychology 2550A/B
Stephen Erdle

Chapter 9 Trait Theoryy Trait approach focused mostly on classification of personalitywanted to describe what the individual differences in personality that we observable are y Dont spend much time on the explanation of personalityjust make general comments in forming personality traits y Dont try to optimize personality in the sense of developing therapyy Trait theorists were psychologists whereas most psychoanalytic people we looked at before were doctors y Trait theorists try to classify personality to look at what differentiates personalities y The only one to try to do that was Junghad 8 different types of people in his analytical psychology theoryTypes and Traits y Distinction between types and traits is made sometimes y Trait theorists focus more on traits than types even though the distinction between them is sometimes blurred y Types usually small number of categories around 10 or lessdoesnt allow for a lot of uniquenessy Trait dimension where people get scores from low to higharound 125 individual traitscan get a lot more uniqueness to the classification to personalityy Trait approach more common today than the type approach because it givens more uniqueness and more finegrained description of someones personality profile Allport y Distinguished between types and traits by saying people fit between types and people have traits y An effective way of describing personality is using trait dimensions y Believed traits were part of the mind and affected peoples behavioursthe cause of peoples behavioursinternal dimensions aggressiveness etc y Distinguishes between different kinds of personality traitsdispositions hierarchal o Cardinal traitsdispositions most dominantMaster motives that dominates their whole personalityTypically people would only have oneSuggested that very few people are dominated by a single traitex Hitler was dominated by the trait for powersuggested that all his behaviours reflected that one cardinal traitMost people dont have a master motive they have a small number of traits approx 510central traits o Central traitsdispositionsTraits that define a persons character and would be of a limited numberDidnt specify what these traits where but suggested that they could be derived from trait terms in the dictionarylexical approach if we look in the dictionary for trait terms we will find traits that describe personality in the English language ex aggressive passive etcHe went through the dictionary and found over 17000 words that suggested personality characteristicscan come up with a limited number by reducing synonyms never followed through on this
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