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PSYC 2P25 (4)
Chapter 3

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Michael Ashton

Chapter 3 – Personality Structure: Classifying Traits A Gentle Introduction to Factor Analysis  Factor analysis allows the researcher to reduce many specific traits into more general “factors” or groups of traits, each of which combines several of the specific traits  Allows us to summarize the relations among a large number of variables in terms of only a small number of groups, or factors.  One way to figure out the true number of factors is to see which sets of factors an be found in many different studies, using different research participants or even different sets of variables measuring the same general kinds of characteristics  The factors that are produced by this technique should be thought of as dimensions along which people differ, and not as “types” of people Factor Analysis of Personality Traits: How to Find a Representative Set of Traits? The Idea of the Lexical Approach  The existing list of important personality traits can be found in the dictionary  The idea behind the use of the dictionary as a source of personality characteristics is based on the lexical hypothesis o States that people will want to talk about the personality traits that they view as having important consequences in their lives -> people will invent some words to describe people who have high or low levels of these important traits The Early Use of the Lexical Approach  Galton (1884) noted that the various personality-descriptive words listed in the dictionary would overlap and blend into each other, with each word partly sharing its meaning with other words, and partly having some unique meaning of its own  Baumgarten (1933) undertook an inventory of German personality-related words, and Allport and Odbert (1936) did the same in the English language, using Webster’s dictionary o Allport and Odbert – 18,000 words that described people, of which about 4500 actually
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