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Chapter 2

PSYB30 Chapter 2

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB30 Chapter 2 Personality Traits A Good Theory Behavioural Residue Physical traces left behind by everyday actions which provide hints and cues to the personality of the occupant Traits descriptors of personality eg anxious easily upset sociable and so on What Is a Personality TraitTraits describe a persons typical style of thinking feeling and acting in different kinds of situations and at different times Temporary states such as emotions attitudes liberal conservative and physical attributes short muscular are not considered personality traits Traits are measured over a continuum that is in a continuous stretch from low to high Because traits cannot be directly measured in the same way that height and weight can psychologists think of traits as hypothetical concepts For this reason some psychologists view traits are purely descriptive summaries of behaviour without thinking about where they came from or why a person acts that way Mario is very sociable just look at how hes getting along with everyoneOther psychologists see traits as internal causal properties Well of course Mario is getting along with everyone hes a sociable person There are two main ways that psychologist have approached the study of traits through the detailed study of a single individual and through the combined study of numerous people These approaches have been called idiographic and nomothetic Two Approaches to the Study of Personality Traits In the idiographic approach the goal is to understand the personality of a single individual with all of his or her quirks or idiosyncrasies and characteristics that make them unique In the nomothetic approach the goal is to discover universals concepts that can apply to everyone by identifying traits that can describe all people or that can be applied to any person Hans Eysenck realized that one could study both the general nomothetic and the specific idiographic within a single person and develop a theory of personality from there He hypothesized that the human personality is organized into a hierarchy which we can think of as a pyramid This pyramid categorizes human personality from the most general level at the top to the most specific level at the bottom General means a trait is universal or applicable to other people whereas specific means a trait is more unique to single individualsWhat Do We Know About Personality From the Idiographic Approach
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