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Trait Theory of Psychology

By kburke819 Feb 20, 2012 691 Words
Kristi Burke

The Trait Theory of Psychology
I really thought that when I was reviewing the list of behavioral theories that was given to us that I would surely end up with three different ones. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Upon checking off the three things and matching the numbers to my choices, I discovered that everything I chose fell underneath the Trait Theory of Psychology, and after doing a little research on it, it is definitely the most accurate depiction of my thoughts when it comes to analyzing other people’s behavior. Traits are distinguishing features of a person’s personality, and there are no two people in this world with absolutely identical traits. Each person treats external events differently, behaves in various situations in a certain way, and appears to others in a particular way. The trait theory focuses on internal aspects of personality and describes personality and emphasizes on its biological aspects. The trait approach assumes that we all have internal traits, or tendencies to behave a certain way across most situations. These traits generally remain stable as we age and explain why people behave the same way across a variety of situations. Yet because people differ in the degree to which they possess various traits, we develop unique personalities. (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2010) I completely agree with those statements when it comes to analyzing an individual person’s behavior. I do believe that traits to a certain degree are learned as a product of the environment we live in, but I also believe that a lot of it has to do with our genetic makeup. The three theories I chose were heredity, traits, and unchangeability. Heredity states that we inherit our behaviors from genetics. I couldn’t agree more. While we often say “I will never be like my parents,” more often than not I find myself saying “Oh my God, I have turned into my mother.” I think my personality is almost a direct reflection upon my parents. Traits basically say that we use certain terms in describing our behaviors such as intelligent, or selfish. I also agree with this because when we are asked how we would describe ourselves or others, the first thing we do is start naming off characteristics that we think best describes our self or another individual. Lastly, the final theory I checked was unchangebility. I agree with this one the most. People all the time say “I am who I am and I am not changing.” I see it every single day and it is so true in my opinion. No matter how hard we say we want to change, we become so accustomed to our behaviors that we almost always revert back to them. I have never in my life seen a person do a complete 360 when it comes to their personality. I think this theory most matched how I perceive why people act mostly because how it is a fact, that no two genetic compositions are exactly alike, you will never find two people with identical personalities or traits. Even twins, though often similar in appearance and personalities, are not one hundred percent, to the T exactly alike. We can sit there all day long and claim how two people could be “exactly alike.” But the fact of the matter is there is a varying degree of difference in their personalities somewhere, whether we choose to see it or not. I think every person’s personality is characterized by some sort of trait, good or bad. While my assessment of psychology only led me to one theory, I think that multiple theories could be to an advantage in a sense that we could look at ourselves by being a diverse individual. I think multiply theories give us a broader range perhaps in explaining why individuals behave the way they do. I do think that it could be to a disadvantage mostly because you will never be able to pinpoint exactly what it is that is triggering a person’s behavior whereas, if there is only one your answer is pretty cut and dry.

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