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Chapter 2

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PSYC 2600
Danay Novoa

PSYC 2600Chapter 3Traits and Trait TaxonomiesWhat is a Trait Two Basic FormulationsTraits as Internal Causal Propertiestraits are presumed to be internal in the sense that individuals carry their desires needs and wants from one situation to anotherThey are causal in the sense that they explain the behaviour of the individuals who possess themPsychologists who view traits as internal dispositions do not equate traits with the external behaviour in questionpsychologists believe that traits can lie dormant in the sense that the capacities remain present even when particular behaviours are not actually expressedTraits as Purely Descriptive Summariesdefine traits simply as descriptive summaries of attributes of persons they make no assumptions about internality or causality those who view traits as descriptive summaries do not prejudge the cause of someones behaviourThey merely use the traits to describe in summary fashion the trend in a persons behaviourThe Act Frequency Formulation of TraitsAn illustration of the Descriptive Summary FormulationThe act frequency approach starts with the notion that traits are categories of acts A trait such as dominance is a descriptive summary of the general trend in a persons behavioura trend that consists of performing a large number of acts within a category relative to another personAct Frequency Research ProgramThe act frequency approach to traits involves three key elementsact nominationprototypicality judgementthe recording of act performanceAct Nominationdesigned to identify which acts belong in which trait categoriesPrototypicality Judgmentidentifying which acts are most central to or prototypical of each trait categoryRecording of Act Performancesecuring information on the actual performance of individuals in their daily livescan be difficult to get information of persons daily conductEvaluation of the Act Frequency Formulationhas been criticized on several groundsdoes not specify how much context should be included in the description of a traitrelevant actapplicable to overt actions but what about failures to act and covert acts that are not directly observable ie A person maybe courageous but we would never know until extraordinary circumstances occurDespite limitations the act frequency approach has still produced some noteworthy accomplishments made explicit the behavioural phenomena to which most traits referhelpful in identifying behavioural regularitiesphenomena that must be explained by any comprehensive personality theoryhelpful in exploring the meaning of some traits that have proven difficult to study such as
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