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Psychology (756)
PSYC 305 (62)
David King (25)
Chapter 3


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University of British Columbia
PSYC 305
David King

CHAPTER 3 TRAITS AND TRAIT TAXONOMIES Dispositional domainconcerns those aspects of personality that are stable over time are relatively consistent over situationsmake people different from each other study of traits how many personality traits existwhat is the best taxonomy or classification system for traithow can webest discovermeasure these traitshow do personality traits develophow do traits interact with situations to produce behavioursa persons personality is viewed as being built out of a set of common traits trait levels can stay the same over long time periods yet the behaviours expressing those traits change as the person ages What Is a Trait Two Basic FormulationsTraits as Internal Causal Properties some personality psychologists view traits as internal properties of persons that cause their behaviour individuals carry their desires needswants from one situation to next these desiresneeds are presumed to be causal in the sense that they explain the behaviour of the individuals who possess them not equating traits with the external behaviour in question measure a trait independently of actual behavioural expressionsbelieve that traits can lie dormant in the sense that the capacities remain present even when particular behaviours are not actually expressed traits as internal needsdrivesdesires are presumed to exist even in the absence of observable behaviour view traits as causes of behaviour lies in ruling out other causes ie Joan goes to many parties bc she is extraverted ruling out other potential reasons Traits as Purely Descriptive Summariestraits are simply descriptive summaries of attributes of persons no assumptions about internality or causality use traits to describe in summary fashion the trend in a persons behaviour argue that first have to identifydescribe individual differences among people then develop causal theories to explain them The Act Frequency Formulation of Traits An Illustration of the Descriptive Summary Formulation Act Frequency Research Programact frequency approach notion that traits are categories of acts trait such as dominance is a descriptive summary of the general trend in a persons behaviour a trend that consists of performing a large number of acts within a category relative to other persons 3 key elements act nomination prototypicality judgementrecording of act performance act nomination procedure designed to identify which acts belong in which trait categories prototypicality judgement identifying which acts are most central to or prototypical of each trait category panels of raters judge how prototypical each act is an example of a particular concept ex sparrowrobin more prototypical of the category bird then turkeypenguin recording of act performance securing info on the actual performance of individuals in their daily lives Evaluation of Act Frequency Formulation criticisms
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