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Chapter 2

PSYC 2P25 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, California Psychological Inventory, Criterion Validity

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Michael Ashton

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Chapter 2: Personality Traits &
Inventories That Measure Them
The Idea of a Personality Trait
A personality trait refers to differences among individuals in a typical tendency to behave, think,
or feel in some conceptually related ways, across a variety of relevant situations and across
some fairly long period of time
Differences Among Individuals
The description of an individual’s personality is meaningful only to the extent that it gives us,
directly or indirectly, a comparison with others
In a Typical Tendency to Behave, Think, or Feel
Refers to a likelihood of showing some behaviours or of having some thoughts or feelings
When we say that a person has a high or low level of a trait, we don’t suggest that a person
always (or never) exhibits certain behaviours, thoughts, or feelings; instead, we suggest that
they have a relatively strong (or weak) inclination or predisposition to exhibit those behaviours,
thoughts, or feelings
In Some Conceptually Related Ways
The idea is that a trait is expressed by various behaviours, thoughts, and feelings that appear to
have some common psychological cause
Sometimes, those expressions of the trait might share some obvious similarities to each other
Across a Variety of Relevant Situations
A personality trait is not simply a habit that is confined to one specific situation; instead, it is
shown across a variety of settings in which people differ in the ways that the trait is expressed
Over Some Fairly Long Period of Time
Means that there is some pattern that can be observed over the long run, rather than simply on
a temporary basis
It is difficult to specify exactly what a “fairly long period of time” should be, but it can probably
be considered as at least a few years
Note: the idea of a trait doesn’t require that the person show the same tendency across the
entire life span. Instead, it is possible that an individual might change considerably during the
course of a lifetime
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