PSYC 2330 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Trait Theory, Barnum Effect, Personnel Selection
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Chapter 4: Theoretical & Measurement Issues In Trait Psychology
January 24th 2012
- Trait theories of personality offer a collection of viewpoints about the
fundamental building blocks of human nature.
- Many differences in trait theories, and what are the best methods for
discovering basic traits.
- Despite their differences, trait theories share three important assumptions
about personality traits:
1. Meaningful Differences Between Individuals
- Trait psychologists are primarily interested in determining the ways in
which people are different from each other.
2. Stability Over Time
- The assumption that there is a degree of consistency in personality over time.
- i.e. If someone is highly extraverted during one period of observation, trait
psychologists tend to assume that he or she will be extraverted tomorrow,
next week, a year from now, or even decades from now.
- Rank Order: Within an age group, how does a person’s trait rank against
someone else. Can help explain why a person who was the most impulsive at
an early age is still the most impulsive compared to others today.
3. Consistency Across Situations
- The third assumption is that traits will exhibit some consistency across
- i.e. if a young man is “really friendly” he is expected to be friendly at work, at
school, and during recreational activities.
Strong Situations: Almost all people react similarly
i.e. break up, death in the family, car crash
Situational Specificity: Specific reaction to specific situation
i.e. a very laid back person who never gets stressed about anything, going up to a
person their really attracted to and they get really bad anxiety and nervousness so
they start to stumble their words and stress.
i.e. not everyone gets nervous for exams but some people do.
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