Comparison Between Famous Trait Theories

Topics: Personality psychology, Big Five personality traits, Trait theory Pages: 4 (1009 words) Published: September 30, 2012
Compare famous Three Trait Theories
The trait approach to personality is focused on differences between individuals. The combination and interaction of various traits forms a personality that is unique to each individual. Trait theory is focused on identifying and measuring these individual personality characteristics. Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory:

A generalized and focalized neuropsychic system (peculiar to the individual), with the capacity to render many stimuli functionally equivalent, and to initiate and guide consistent (equivalent) forms of adaptive and expressive behavior. Gordon described trait by dividing it into three levels and gave Personal Disposition Theory: In 1936, psychologist Gordon Allport found that one English-language dictionary alone contained more than 4,000 words describing different personality traits. He categorized these traits into three levels:

Cardinal Traits: Traits that dominate an individual’s whole life, often to the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits. People with such personalities often become so known for these traits that their names are often synonymous with these qualities. Consider the origin and meaning of the following descriptive terms: Freudian, Machiavellian, narcissism, Don Juan, Christ-like, etc. Allport suggested that cardinal traits are rare and tend to develop later in life.

Central Traits: These are the general characteristics that form the basic foundations of personality. These central traits, while not as dominating as cardinal traits, are the major characteristics you might use to describe another person. Terms such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are considered central traits.

Secondary Traits: These are the traits that are sometimes related to attitudes or preferences and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. Some examples would be getting anxious when speaking to a group or impatient while waiting in line....
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