CH 14: PersonalityPSYA02 1
Trait Theories of Personality
•Personality is a particular pattern of behavior and thinking and determines
how we act or react in a variety of situations.
•Humoural Theory (by Galen): earliest theory to explain individual
differences in personality. (Body contains 4 humours)
oCholeric ppl – excess yellow – bad tempered/irritable.
oMelancholic ppl – excess black – gloomy/pessimistic.
oPhlegmatic ppl – excess phlegm- sluggish/calm/unexcitable.
oSanguine ppl – excess blood – passionate/cheerful
•Personality types – different categories into which personality
characteristics can be assigned based on factors (developmental exp for eg)
oThis is an obviously rejected theory, today we conceive of individual
differences personality as being in degree, not kind.
•Personality trait – enduring personal characteristic that reveals itself in a
particular pattern of behavior in different situations.
oPpl vary in the extent to which they are one or the other (analogous to
a personality trait)
oTraits have both biological and learning outside of body.
Dynamic organization – integrated and
unified whole, we have a sense of having a
•organization occurs within the
•Exists in terms of psychophysical
•These systems determine(implying cause
•Personality has causal impact on our
behaviour – knowing somebody’s
personality has an EXPLANATORY
power to it.
•Personality helps us makes adaptations
CH 14: PersonalityPSYA02 2
to world around us.
•Allport (Important in Personality Traits)
oBelieved that people react the same in all situations
Cardinal Traits – rare, but strong unifying influence on
person’s behavior. (eg. Hitler)
Central Traits – less singular than cardinal (eg. Honest, warm)
used to distinguish from others.
Secondary Traits – minor influence in behavior (eg. freq to
•He believes “we only know how to explain a person’s
personality once we can describe it!”
•Cattell (16 Personality factors)
oUsed Allports information to bring Allports 18 000 trait words into 171
adjectives (using factor analysis)
oHe referred his 16 PF as source traits, to which personality was built.
•Eysenck (3 Factors) of bipolar dimensions. (ENP)
oExtroversion – outgoing nature (opp to introversion) – requires more
external stimulation than introvert to maintain optimum arousal.
Introversion – shy, reserved, careful (opp to extroversion) –
requires little to maintain his lower arousal lvl.
oNeuroticism – always tense, worrying, moody and unstable (opp to
oPsychoticism – aggressive, anti social, egocentric (opp of self control)
CH 14: PersonalityPSYA02 3
•5 Factor Model (P is composed of 5 primary dimensions)
othe original 3 were Neuro,Extra(big two) and Openness.
oNeuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness,
oThey are measured by the NEO-PI-R (Neuroticism, Extraversion and
Openness Personality Inventory) R standing for revised.
Reliability: alphas from .87 to .92, N = 1,539.
Validity: self-peer r’s from .36 to .53, N = 250.
Consists of 240 items to describe a person.
McCrae, Costa, and Busch performed Factor Analysis on a list of
adjectives contained in a test called the California Q-Set –
resulting in the same 5 factors.
•Identical twins correlate more than fraternal twins in terms of personality
•Heredity is responsible for b/w 50-70 % of variability in these 3 personality
traits. The remaining % is caused by diff in environment.
•Identical twins were much more likely to have experienced similar family
•Heredity plays a large role in determining the nature of environment
P458 to p460 needs reading again.
Social Learning Approach
Social Learning Theory – personality is determined by consequences of behavior
and the beliefs of those consequences. Skinner believed that personality was
determined by consequences.
Dynamic organization integrated and unified whole, we have a sense of having a unified experience. organization occurs within the individual. Personality has causal impact on our behaviour knowing somebody"s personality has an explanatory power to it. 2 to world around us: allport (important in personality traits, believed that people react the same in all situations. cardinal t raits rare, but strong unifying influence on person"s behavior. (eg. hitler) central t raits less singular than cardinal (eg. honest, warm) used to distinguish from others. 3: 5 factor model (p is composed of 5 primary dimensions, the original 3 were neuro,extra(big two) and openness, neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, Conscientiousness: they are measured by the neo-p i-r (neuroticism, extraversion and. reliability: alphas from . 87 to . 92, n = 1,539. validity: self-peer r "s from . 36 to . 53, n = 250. consists of 240 items to describe a person.