Three Fundamental Questions guide those who study personality traits
How should we conceptualize traits?
Every field needs to define its key terms explicitly In bio- for ex. Species is a key concept so the concept
of species is defined explicitly ie. A group of organisms is capable of reproducing with each other. In
physics the basic concepts of mass, weight, force and gravity are defined explicitly.
Because traits are central concepts in personality psych
They too must be precisely formulated
How can we identify which traits are the most important traits among the thousands of ways in which
Individuals differ in many ways that are both characteristic and enduring. Some individuals are
extremely extraverted, enjoying loud and crowded parties, others are introverted preferring quiet
evenings spent reading. Some people talk a lot and seek to be the center of attention in most social
encounters; some prefer to be quiet and let others do the talking.
A crucial goal of personality psychology Is to identify the most important ways in which individuals differ
How can we formulate a comprehensive taxonomy of traits- a system that includes within it all of the
major traits of personality?
Once the important traits have been identified the next step is to formulate an organized scheme- A
taxonomy- within which to assemble the individual traits- the periodic table of elements for example are
arranged according to their atomic numbers, Within bio- the field would be hopelessly lost if it were to
merely list all of the thousands of species that exist without relying on underlying organizational
framework. A central goal of personality psychology Is to formulate a comprehensive taxonomy of
Eysenck’s 3-factor model-Model of personality based on traits that Eysenck believed were highly
heritable and had psycho physiological foundation
Extraversion: Narrow traits- Sociable, active, lively, venturesome, dominant, and so forth. Typically like
parties, have many friends and seem to require having people around them to talk to
love playing practical jokes on people, they also display carefree and easy manner they tend to also have
a high activity level.
Introverts: Like to spend time alone, Prefer quiet time and pursuits such as reading. Introverts are
sometimes seen as aloof and distant but they often have small number of intimate friends with whom
they share confidences. Introverts tend to be more serious, and prefer more moderate pace, they are
organized, and prefer routine, predictable lifestyles.