People’s distinctive thought, feeling, and behaviour patterns are reflected in their personality traits. The foundation of trait theory in psychology is the notion that individuals differ from one another according to the strength and intensity of fundamental trait dimensions.
In psychology, traits are the manner in which we often characterise a person. The adjectives “outgoing,” “short-tempered,” and “generous” all refer to characteristics. One of the most important areas of research in psychology that aids in determining a person’s personality is the trait approach. A consistent attribute that prompts a person to express a response to any event in a particular way is referred to as a trait. According to trait theories, qualities never change no matter what the circumstances.
An individual’s overall personality consists of a number of trait forms rather than just one unique trait. The forms of these traits vary from person to person. Trait theory can be described as the theory used to pinpoint and quantify specific personality traits.
The focus of the trait theory approach is on individual personality variations.
The Trait Theory of Personality: What Is It?
According to the trait theory of personality in psychology, individual differences are a function of how strong their core personality traits are. This method identifies a variety of characteristics and individual distinctions among people before evaluating how they might combine to create a person’s personality. Trait theory is distinct from other theories of personality and social psychology, such as Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and Fred Fiedler’s contingency theory. Trait theories are sometimes used in business to determine whether a candidate possesses the necessary traits for a leadership position.
The majority of trait theories list a number of binary personal traits before plotting an individual on a continuum between these two extremes. For instance, relatively few people are extroverts who crave nonstop sociability or introverts who crave utter solitude, so adopting a more pragmatic and humanistic perspective like this helps focus on what makes each person unique.
Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory
One of the first individuals to propose a theory of personality traits was psychologist Gordon Allport. In 1936, he made the amazing revelation that over 4000 terms in an English language dictionary described personality qualities.
Allport thought of characteristics as the foundation of personality. He asserts that there are three categories of qualities.
1. Cardinal Traits
A person organises his entire life around what are known as their cardinal traits. According to Allport, these characteristics are unusual and arise later in life. However, these characteristics are so crucial to a person’s life that they frequently get associated with their names. In other words, a person might be famous for having certain qualities. such as narcissism, benevolence, lust, and greed.
2. Central Traits
Central attributes are traits that represent a person’s primary characteristics. These qualities might also be thought of as the building blocks of a person’s personality. Shyness, anxiety, intelligence, and dishonesty are examples of key qualities.
3. Secondary Traits
The broad behavioural tendencies that only show up in specific situations are referred to as secondary traits. An illustration would be feeling anxious before giving a speech.
The most well-known British psychologist is Eysenck. He reasoned that the numerous diverse types of people we encounter may be explained by two main aspects of personality. As follows:
Based on these two universal characteristics and the third component that the psychologist eventually added, he suggested a personality model.
Both shyness and sociability fall under this category. Extroversion refers to focusing attention on the outside world and other people, whereas introversion includes focusing energy on interior experiences. Simply said, extroverts are social while introverts are shy.
2. Neuroticism/Emotional Stability:
The range of the dimension includes melancholy and even temperance. When we use the term “emotional stability,” we mean the state of being emotionally steady or constant. Additionally, emotional instability that makes a person upset or emotional is referred to as neuroticism.
In Eysenck’s older model, this dimension was present. He introduced this component after researching people with mental illnesses. People that score highly on this characteristic may not be typical and may struggle to deal with reality. These individuals generally exhibit angry, non-empathetic, manipulative, and antisocial traits.
Raymond Cattell’s Trait Theory
Unlike Eysenck, Cattell did not merely rely on his own reporting when developing his theory. Factor analysis, a mathematical method created by Charles Spearman, is the mathematical foundation of Cattell’s trait theory. Cattell devised a classification system for them using factor analysis after reviewing and categorising a vast number of qualities in search of the most fundamental and practical ones.
The Allport’s initial list of more than 4000 terms was reduced to 171 different qualities as a result. He also discovered phrases that were closely connected, and a final list of 16 fundamental source features was created. These, in his opinion, form the foundation of all human individuality.
The Big Five Factors Theory Of Personality
Many scientists and psychologists thought that Cattell’s theory focused on too many features whereas Eysenck’s thesis concentrated on too few traits. As a result, “The Big Five Factor Theory of Personality” was formed as a new theory. The labels created by Costa and McCrae in 1985 are still in use today, despite frequent disagreements among academics and those in a similar field on the names given to these dimensions.
Read more about The Big Five Factors Theory Of Personality: Big Five Personality Trait
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