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PSYC 370 (60)
Robert Ley (46)
Chapter 9

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PSYC 370
Robert Ley

Trait Theory ● traits: continuous measuring sticks along which people may be ordered according to the extent to which they possess each trait in question Gordon Allport ● grew up in hard-working, Protestant environment ● youngest of four boys ● wrote extensively Allport’s theory of personality ● never had much influence but the influence of his ideas still lives on, specifically his concept of trait ● for Allport personality was real - what the person really is ○ within the individual ○ mental and physiological ○ dynamically organized ● the individual is a system of patterned uniqueness ● idiographic approach: study of individual person, stressing uniqueness of every individual. How his or her individuality is patterned. ● nomothetic approach: as scientists we wish to find general laws applying to everyone. Concerned with the discovery and study of general scientific laws. ● can observe traits in action by: ○ frequency of behaviour ○ range of situations in which the behaviour appears ○ intensity of the behaviour ● Allport distinguished between types of traits: ○ common traits: characteristics of people ○ individual traits: (or personal dispositions) attributes of individual ■ cardinal dispositions: by which a person is distinctly recognizable ■ central dispositions: often individuals have many of them. These are distinguishing traits and determine behaviour in different kinds of situations ■ secondary dispositions: many in every individual ● situations will cause variations in how the trait is expressed ● characteristics of person (traits) and the attributes of the situation interact to create behaviour Raymond Cattell ● happy and active childhood ● saw badly wounded soldiers and that changed his whole outlook on life, he developed a sense of urgency to accomplish as much as he could ● strongly influenced by provocative British writers ● immersed himself in psychology ● recognized and highly regarded for his prodigious accomplishments ● developed 16PF Questionnaire Cattell’s trait theory ● factor analysis: statistical technique allowing us to discover systematic order in sets ● correlation: tells us about the relationship between two sets ● Raymond Cattell began with Allport and Odbert’s list of traits and eliminated those that were overlapping. They were then intercorrelated and factor-analyzed to further narrow down the list ○ then arrived at 16 factors which are the basic traits of personality ○ these traits make up a personality test ● two kinds of traits: ○ surface traits: observations that go together and are correlated ○ source traits: far more than correlated observations. This is the real stuff of personality ■ constitutional traits: genetic in origin ■ environmental-mould traits: come from environmental influences ■ traits can also be: ● ability traits: determine how well we are able to accomplish things. Intelligence is a prime example. It can be fluid int
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