Trait Theory

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Trait Theory
Gerald Joseph Camilleri
University of Chaminade

Trait Theory
Do you remember taking those personality quizzes where they ask you to describe your personality? What types of things did you mark? Did you mark terms such as friendly, caring, outgoing, and talkative? All these are prime examples of traits. The study of human personality has fascinated people from the dawn of time. The four major personality perspective attempts to describe patterns in personality, how they differ, and how they are formed. The theory that will be discussed in this paper is trait theory of personality or also sometimes referred to as dispositional theory. Trait perspective of personality is concern with identifying, describing, and measuring specific traits that make up the human personality.
Trait personality theory is unlike humanistic or psychoanalytic theory. The primary focus of trait theorist is to measure the differences between traits and how they make up the human personality (Cherry). A trait is a stable characteristic that causes someone to act in certain ways. According to trait theorists, personality is made up of a combination of various traits. An example of this could be someone who is described as introverted, hardworking, and conscientiousness one might conclude that they neat, smart, and organized. Trait theory’s primary focused on the measuring and identifying personality characteristics.
Gordon Allport is the founding father of trait personality perspective. At the time, personality was not a sub-discipline of psychology (“Application”). Allport found that there were more than 4,000 words to describe personality traits. He felt that there were to many repetitive traits so he broke them down into three categorizes. These categorizes are: central, secondary, and cardinal. Central traits are common things that characterize an individual’s personality such as honesty, friendless, and easy going. Secondary

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