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Chapter 4-6

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4-6: Gordon Allport, California Psychological Inventory, Hans Eysenck

Course Code
Marc A Fournier

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Personality Textbook #2
Chapter 4
What are traits?
Trait is considered to be an internal disposition
Stable over time and across situations
Conceived in bipolar terms
o Friendliness vs. unfriendliness
Traits are additive and independent
Personality usually refer to broad individuals differences in socio-emotional
o Immanuel Kant: temperament (traits) & character (schemas)
Personality traits refer to individual differences between people u
characteristic thoughts, feelings, and behaviours
Four Positions of the Nature of Traits
1. Neurophysiological substrates
a. Traits are biological patterning in the central nervous system that
cause behaviour to occur and account for the consistencies in socio-
emotional functioning from one situation to the next over time
i. Allport
2. Behavioural dispositions
a. Traits are tendencies to act, think, or feel in consistent ways that
interact with external influences (cultural norms) to influence a
person’s functioning
i. Cattell
3. Act frequencies
a. Traits are descriptive summary categories for behavioural acts
b. Acts that have the same functional properties may be grouped
together into families with some acts being for prototypical or
representative of the general family features than others
i. Buss & Craik
4. Linguistic categories
a. Traits are convenient fictions devised by people to categorize and
make sense of the diversity of human behaviour and experience
b. Traits do not exist outside the mind of the observer and therefore
they can have no causal influence
Arguments for positions
1. Biological reality
2. Dispositional nature of traits
3. Traits connected to functionally similar behaviour
4. Traits label are useful in everyday social cognition
Contradiction between first and forth positions
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History of Traits
Earliest time, book of Genesis
Galen and four humours
o Blood: confident, bold
o Black bile: depressed, anxious
o Yellow bile: restless
o Phlegm: cold, sluggish
Gordon Allport
Traits really exist
Traits account for consistency in human behaviour
Common traits are dimensions of human functioning upon which many different
people are likely to differ
Personal disposition trait that is especially characteristic of a given individual
and therefore instrumental for depicting that individual person’s uniqueness
Cardinal disposition: general and pervasive trait, directly or indirectly
involved in a wide range of the person’s activity
o Many people have no cardinal disposition
o Feature of a person’s personality profile
Central disposition: wide range of dispositions that may be characteristic for
a given person and called into ply on a relatively regular basis
o People usually have 5-10 central dispositions
Secondary disposition: limited in scope and less critical to the description of
overall personality
o Narrower more contingent on particular situational cues
Raymond B. Cattell
Main goal: scientists’ ability to predict behaviour
Personality that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a
given situation
Allport = personal disposition : Cattell = unique traits
Mostly focused on what Allport called common traits; traits that express
individual differences among many different people
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Cattell’s Three-Part Classification of Personality Data
1. L-data (life data): information derived from observers’ ratings and evaluation
of individuals leading more or less natural lived and evaluation of individuals
in natural settings
a. Teacher ratings of children in nursery school
2. Q-data (questionnaire data): information derived from self-observations and
evaluation of one’s own behaviour feelings and personality characteristics
a. Self report scales, standard personality inventories
3. T-data (test data): information derived from observations of behaviour
under structured and controlled conditions as in the lab
a. Experiments observations made of aggressive, altruistic behaviour
Combining all the data gives a more accurate reading on personality traits
Factor analysis statistical approach to derive a complex classification
scheme for traits
o Researcher examines the ways in which responses to different
questions and measures cluster together
o Reduces large number of items or variables to a smaller set of
dimensions; factors
Surface traits elements of behaviour that when empirically measure and
inter-correlated tend to cluster together
o Observable behaviour
Source traits surface traits that can be reduced
Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaires or 16 PF Cattell
Individual differences in source traits
Hans Eysenck
3 source traits existed
o Extraversion-introversion
o Neuroticism
o Psychoticism (psychotic behaviour, anti-social)
Extraverted and highly neurotic emotionally unstable
o Outgoing but easily irritated: chloric type
Extraverted and low neuroticism emotionally stable
o Outgoing, stable, cheerful: sanguine type
Introverted and highly neurotic
o Depression and anxiety: melancholic
Introverted and low neuroticism emotionally stable
o Quiet, steady, stoic: phlegmatic
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