Trait Theory (Sports Phycology)

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Definition of personality: due to the different number of theory that suggest the key to understanding personality it is proven difficult to come up with a definition that is acceptable to all theory’s i.e. trait theory, social learning theory and so on. “Those relatively stable and enduring aspects of individuals which distinguish them from other people, making them unique but at the same time permit a comparison between individuals” (R.Gross), 1998, 21/01/2010 “Personality is the underlying relatively stable psychological structures and process that organise human experience and shape a person’s actions and reactions to the environment” (Lazarus and Mowat), 1998, 21/01/2010 Personality is made up of the individual’s characteristic and patterns of opinions, judgment, and behaviours in which make a person unique i.e. shy, outgoing, aggressive, laid back. Personality also comes from within the individual (such as their back ground or parents) and remains fairly consistent throughout life, for example a person with a very aggressive and up front personality never real changes from a young age though to old age, he may be calmer at times however in certain situations his aggressive personality will come out, i.e. on a rugby pitch. All individuals are unique to every other human, however every individual’s personality has comparison between each other, and they just react in different ways using the same characteristics as one another. Different theories:

* Trait theory
* Social learning theory
* Type A V’s Type B
* Situational V’s. interactional
Trait theory
The trait approach to personality is one of the major theoretical areas in the study of personality. The trait theory suggests that individual personalities are built up of characteristics and that each individual has different traits such as outgoing, kind; shy, aggressive and so on. There are three levels to the trait theory:

* Cardinal Traits: Traits that dominate an individual’s whole life, often to the point that the person becomes known specifically for these traits, for example mike Tyson is known for his aggression within the boxing ring.

* Central Traits: The general characteristics that form the personality of an individual. These central traits, are the major characteristics you might use to describe another person, such as intelligent, honest, shy and anxious are all central traits

* Secondary Traits: Traits that are sometimes related to attitudes and views and often appear only in certain situations or under specific circumstances. Some examples would be “getting anxious when speaking to a group”, impatient while waiting in line or aggressive on the rugby pitch in a match situation and calm and relaxed off the pitch. “Eysenck, H.J”. (1992). 21/01/2010

Eysenck type theory
Personality is largely seen as being inherited traits, eysenck believed he could measure a person inherited characteristics through a test called personality inventory (EPI, which was invented in 1964) and personality questionnaire, both the test were performed using a yes or No answer to a number of different questions such as “do you long for excitement” and “when people shout at you, do you shout back”. Through these test eysenck found the people were linked into two type of major personality such as extroversion and introversion which linked to a person’s reticular activating system (RAS) this related to how social and unsocial people appear to be in situations. Eysenck claimed extroverts need increased level of stimulation in order to keep focused and the brain functioning, therefore extroverts lose concentration easily, and consequently seek high levels of excitement such as sky diving in order to keep them aroused. Eysenck claimed introverts on the others hand had a high level of arousal, therefore they didn’t need increased stimulation/ excitement (such as sky diving) to keep...
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