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Chapter 8

PSY230H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Gordon Allport, Carl Jung, Theophrastus

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Dan Dolderman

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Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research
PSY 230
Chapter 8
Trait Aspects of Personality
8.1 The History of Trait Approaches
-humans have used trait descriptions since biblical times to describe individuals
-Hippocrates described human temperament with bodily humours; sanguine (blood), melancholic
(black bile), choleric (yellow bile), and phlegmatic (phlegm)
-dominance of humour supposedly determine typical reaction patterns, found to be groundless
-Theophrastus made first known character sketches; famous “Penurious Man”
-Francis Galton in the early 1900s attempted to measure human abilities and spurred intelligence
testing and other aptitude assessments
Ancient Times
In Ancient Greece, ideas of character and temperament develop, as caused by the
four bodily humours; nature is thought to be composed of air, earth, fire, and water
Middle Ages
Religious interpretations view persons as divine creations possessed by good or evil
Search for basic traits of individual differences begins unsuccessfully, enlightenment
philosophers search for core of human nature
1920s - 1940s
Carl Jung and colleagues search for deep-rooted individual differences in orientation
towards world; experimental psychology is dominated by behaviourism; clinical by
Gordon Allport defines traits as neuropsychic structures that make certain stimuli
functionally equivalent and guide consistent behaviour
1930s - 1950s
Statistics (especially factor analysis) is developed and applied by Cattell and others to
assess intelligence and other individual differences; Henry Murray develops a motive-
based approach termed “personology”; testing based on statistics becomes norm
for college admission, psychological screening and other applications
1960s - 1970s
“Crisis” in personality as traits fail to fully predict behaviour in all situations
The Big Five approach to traits takes hold, longitudinal studies reveal long-term
stability of individual differences
Traits, motives, goals, and expressive styles are studied in more sophisticated ways;
more attention paid to behavioural manifestation of traits; personality psychology is
reestablished as a major subfield

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Jung’s Extroversion and Introversion
extroversion — an orientation towards things outside oneself
introversion — the tendency to turn inward and explore one’s feelings and experiences
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator — a widely used instrument that attempt to measure introversion and
extroversion and three other scales to determine which of 16 “types” an individual is
Sensation-Intuition scale — whether a person is more prone to realism or imagination
Thinking-Feeling scale — whether a person is more logical and objective or personal and subjective
Judgement-Perception scale — indicates one’s orientation toward evaluating or perceiving things
Carl Jung (a neo-analytic personality psychologist) helped launch the concept of trait
approaches by employing the terms extroversion and introversion in personality theory
Hans Eysenck changed meaning of terms and made them more polarizing
empirically speaking, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is not as accurate as the Big Five
however Jung set the stage by drawing attention to the observation that some people are
oriented to look inward and others outwards; and this dichotomy is a stable difference
The Use of Statistics
R. B. Cattell in the 1940s began using statistical approaches to try to simplify and objectify
study of personality
Allport found thousands of words in the English language that could be used to describe
personality traits, Cattell grouped these traits and “factor analyzed” them
meaning he used a statistical technique to summarize correlation coefficients by taking into
account overlap (shared variance) so that variables that are correlated with each other but not
with other variables form a dimension or “factor” (helps eliminate redundant information)
Cattell believed language was important, so used Allport’s groundwork
Q-data, T-data, L-data, and the 16PF
Q-data — data that is gathered from self-reports and questionnaires
T-data — data collected by placing a person into come controlled test situation and rating responses;
observational “test” data
L-data — information that is gathered about a person’s life such as from school records (“life” data)
Cattell argued that all three kinds of information should be collected as people generally do
not have a good view of their own personalities
proposed that there are 16 basic personality traits, typically assessed in an individual using
the Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire (16PF)
Cattell’s work had a significant influence on Gordon Allport, who disliked the behaviourist,
psychoanalytic, and quantitative approaches
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