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Chapter 3

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Psychology 2550A/B
David Vollick

September 16, 2013 Chapter 3: Types and Traits Part I: The Trait-Disposition Theory Key Questions: • What basic qualities or traits characterize people? • How can differences between people in these traits be captured and described? – Need to be measured • What role does the situation play? Differences between Types and Traits Types: • Typologies: Discontinues categories e.g., Hippocrates – four types choleric (irritable), melancholic (depressed), sanguine (optimistic), and phlegmatic (calm, listless) • Assigned people to one of these types, you either are or you’re not • Introverts – shy, loners, withdrawn, especially during stressful emotional conflict • Extraverts – sociable, outgoing, react to stress by trying to lose themselves among people and social activity • Type A: o Very competitive, aggressive, hostile with exaggerated sense of urgency • Type B: o The opposite Traits: Individual Differences on Dimensions • Traits: Continuous dimensions (e.g., “friendliness) • The trait approach – to label, measures and classify people often using trait terms of everyday language (e.g., friendly, aggressive) o Assumes that behavior is primarily determined by stable generalized traits – basic qualities of the person that express themselves in many contexts • Traits are inferred behavior • Individuals often differ greatly and consistently in their responses to the same psychological situation or stimulus (traits = the explain individual differences in behavior) o The degree of the trait the person has (e.g., how much “conscientiousness”) Gordon Allport • Allport’s focus: o Understand the differences between people in personality – the uniqueness of each personality o See how the different characteristic and processes (e.g., learning, biological processes) within an individual interact and function in an integrated way o Cardinal trait: Highly generalized dispositions that influence most aspects of behavior o Central traits: Less pervasive but still quite generalized dispositions that broadly influences people’s behavior o Secondary dispositions: Narrow traits or “attitudes” or values – doesn't drive all behavior • No two people’s personality are completely alike nor do they respond identically to the same event o Each person’s behavior is determined by a particular trait structure (never identical in any two people) Raymond B. Cattell • Surface Traits (cluster of overt behavior that go together) and Source Traits (underlying factors which generate those clusters) – drive the other traits, develop surface traits • Dynamic traits – Relevant to the individual being “set into action” with respect to some goal • Ability traits – concerned with effectiveness in gaining the goal • Temperament traits – concerned with energy or emotional reactivity Hans J. Eyesnck • Eysenck – introversion-extraversion (vs. Jung’s separate personality types) – based on empirical research • Also emotional stability (or “neuroticism”) as a major dimension of personality Common Features of Trait Theories • Generality and Stability in Traits o They admit trait fluctua
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