Personality traits are a set of psychological characteristics that are stable over time and across situations (Pervin, John, & Cervone, 2005). Each individual has unique and distinct personality traits, which refer to the way someone behaves and feels. The basic idea of what a personality is refers to who we are and who we become. We are born with innate characteristics and the sum of our life experiences make up how we are. Relationships can also affect the personality of an individual. There are various complex theories about how a person’s personality is developed. This paper will discuss Raymond Catttell’s theory, certain personality characteristics about me and life experiences that may have contributed to how the traits were developed.
“Source traits” are what Raymond Cattell called the sixteen factors that underlie ones personality (Pervin, John, & Cervone, 2005). These factors include; warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self reliance, perfectionism, and tension. Cattell suggests that each behavior is influenced by specific situations (Meit, Borgess and Early, 2007). All of us are given choices throughout life and from these experiences we learn life lessons. Cattell developed these 16 factors by developing and assessing the rates of tests (Pervin, John and Cervone, 2005).
Of the traits that Cattell states we all have, social boldness is one that I obtain. There are positives and negatives to this characteristic. Between the two certain factors are seen in me. On the positive side of social boldness I tend to be very venturesome, outspoken, thick-skinned, able to take on stress and uninhibited. Many of these factors are great to have when dealing with certain individuals (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). The negative factors of this trait are being threat-sensitive, and hesitant (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). At times I have found myself not wanting to take action on things because I feel “threatened” by the outcome. Another characteristic that is dominant in my personality is privateness. Sharing my life with strangers can be very uncomfortable to me. The strong points of this trait are being private, discreet, astute, polished, worldly and diplomatic (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). As an individual that grew up with parents of certain status this became a part of daily life to not share everything with others, unless necessary. The weaker points of this characteristic are being forthright, genuine and naïve (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). Many times I have fallen into believing what others have said because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. The third trait I possess is self-reliance. This I believe is my strongest personality mannerism. The prominent factors that are seen from this trait are being self-reliant, solitary, resourceful, individualistic, and self-sufficient (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). No matter what happens I have been able to figure out how to solve any situation. The less conspicuous features of this quality can be group-oriented and being a joiner or follower (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). Although I tend to not join or follow anything I do not believe in I am strongly drawn to groups that have purpose. For instance I belong to many organizations that have objectives that are meaningful to me. A final attribute is tension. Although stress is a dynamic I am good at handling certain situations raise tension in me. Of this feature the portions that are seen as higher qualities are being tense, having high energy, being impatient, driven and frustrated easily (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). These can be seen either positively or negatively depending on the circumstances. The qualities seen as being lower are having low drive, patience, being relaxed and composed (ChangingMinds.org, 2008). The lower values are very prominent in my demeanor when under stress. However in certain situations the higher levels are seen in me.
Social Boldness: From the moment I was born this quality has been present and enhanced through certain experiences. As a child I was not timid at all. Meeting new people was interesting to me and I wanted to get to know them. Watching my parents and how they interacted with others gave me the capability to create small talk with strangers and have the courage to be a social butterfly. This behavior increased as I grew and began to develop my own relationships with peers. Sports and new experiences became exciting to me. By participating in football, rock climbing, martial arts, snowboarding and many other activities helped to develop a sense of valor. Privateness: This characteristic has a balance between the positive and negative aspects of it that has been developed throughout certain life experiences. As a child I was more open to others, but through watching my siblings get hurt and through other traumatic experiences that occurred my privateness increased. At times I have been naïve to situations and people, which have led me to not disclose information about myself until a trust has developed. Certain circumstances that I feel led me to this are my mother’s death, being raped, and divorce. Self-Reliance: This attribute suites me very well. Since I was a little girl being alone has been a very important part of my happiness. Although I enjoy being with people I tend to get overwhelmed by their presence and prefer to take time to be alone. Solving problems on my own is preferred, but if needed I will seek help. Usually help will be my last resort though. Over the years and through the University of Phoenix I have developed more of a team player role, which wasn’t always present growing up. In my career and relationships this quality stands out the most. Tension: This mannerism is high and low in me. Throughout my life I have always been on the go. Boredom sets in easily with me, so I am always finding something to do or keep my mind on. This I feel is genetic because my father and mother are like this. Having drive is a great attribute I feel because I will always get done what needs to be done, this was taught to me by my parents too. Handling stress can be trying, however many have said patience is a virtue I possess. Apparently dealing with stress is something I am good at, yet irritability can set in and I then become mean. Even though this trait may be genetic, I feel that having to deal with traumatic stresses in life have given me a higher capability in dealing with tension. Thus creating a sense of a “relaxed” way of dealing with stress.
Many theories that have been done on personalities have laid the groundwork for mapping a person’s behavior. Raymond Cattell created a way to determine 16 personality traits he felt were prominent in people. Whether these characteristics are from our genetic or influenced by the environment is still unclear, however my belief is that the qualities human’s posses comes from both.
Pervin, L.A., John, O.P., & Cervone, D. (2005). Personality: Theory and Research. Retrieved from, https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/content/eBookLibrary/content/eReader.h
Meit, S., Birges, N., & Early, L. (2007). Personality Profiles of Incoming Male and Female Medical Students. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:FjzZ0-MUpawJ:www.med-ed-online.org/pdf/F0000181.pdf+http://www.med-ed-online.org/pdf/F0000181.pdf.&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&client=safari
ChangingMinds.org. (2008). 16 PF Factors. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from, http://changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/16pf.htm