Ch 7 Trait Theories of Personality.pdf

Allport odbert defined traits as generalized and

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Allport & Odbert defined traits as "generalized and personalized determining tendencies - consistent and stable modes of an individual's adjustment to his environment" Replicated by Chaplin, who put personality descriptors into 3 categories: traits, states, and activities Different kinds of traits: o Cardinal trait - a disposition that is so pervasive & outstanding in a person's life that virtually every act is traceable to its influence o Central trait - dispositions that cover a more limited range of situations than cardinal o Secondary dispositions - least conspicuous, generalized and consistent Allport emphasized that both trait and situation concepts are necessary to understand behavior FUNCTIONAL AUTONOMY Functional autonomy - motives become independent of earlier tension-reducing drives IDIOGRAPHIC RESEARCH
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Allport was different in that he primarily endorsed an idiographic approach to research In-depth studies of individual persons are viewed as a path for learning about people generally o Other trait theorists generally adopt nomothetic procedures in which a large population is described in terms of a common, universal set of personality traits COMMENT ON ALLPORT Some felt that the study of individual idiosyncrasies conflicted with science's search for general laws IDENTIFYING PRIMARY TRAIT DIMENSIONS: FACTOR ANALYSIS Identifying a set of basic, universal traits is a scientific challenge that is fundamental to the history of trait theories of personality Some traits tend to go together, they co-occur Trait theorists decided to use a statistical technique called factor analysis o Factor analysis - a statistical tool for summarizing ways in which a large number of variables go together, or co-occur Technique of factor analysis simplifies information contained in a large table of correlations by identifying a small set of factors, where each factor represents one cluster of correlations It identifies patterns of covariation in test responses, but doesn't answer WHY they covary THE FACTOR-ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY OF RAYMOND B. CATTELL (1905-1998) Obtained B.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 1924, then Ph.D in psychology in 1929 at University of London. Moved to USA in 1937 Extremely prolific in publishing, spent most of his time as professor and director of Laboratory of Personality Assessment at University of Illinois SURFACE & SOURCE TRAITS: PERSONALITY STRUCTURE IN CATTELL’S THEORY Surface traits - represent observable behavioral tendencies Cattell was able to identify 40 groups of trait terms that were highly intercorrelated each grouping represented a surface trait Source traits internal psychological structures that are the underlying cause of observed intercorrelations among surface traits
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