Trait Model of Personality

Trait Model of Personality

PSY 330: Theories of Personality

The Trait Model of Personality

As a psychological approach, the trait model theory is the study of human personality. 

It concentrates on features that describe an individual’s typical trends, feelings, emotions, and behaviors. In psychology, traits apply to how we generally characterize an individual. The descriptive words like outgoing, short, compassionate, these are characteristics. The Trait methodology is a significant psychological field of research to define the personality of an individual. Features are visualized as stable functions that cause an individual to display a reaction in specific ways to any circumstance. Trait explanations suggest that regardless of the details, the characteristics remain unchanged (Lecci,2015).

Gordon Allport was among the first psychologists to establish a definition of a personality characteristic. In 1936, he made an impressive discovery, which revealed that more than four thousand words identified personality traits in an English language dictionary. Allport regard-ed three traits he used as attitude building blocks. They are cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits. Within the hierarchy of features with Allport’s Theory, the three different levels are simply levels of preference found in the person. Hans Eysenck defined the three personality traits as psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism. Eysenck claimed that psychological and environmental influences, like cortical arousal and hormonal rates, and learning behaviors, affect the individual’s performance on these dimensions.

As we go in-depth to review both researchers’ theories, we will compare and analyze their concepts and rationalize the points surrounding the outcomes of their methods.

History and Evolution

Gordon Allport was the early founder of trait analysis in 1936. Allport’s approach describes characteristics as building blocks of one’s personality. He developed three types of attributes: 1) Cardinal traits; these are traits that dominate a person’s character to the point that they are known for them. They are attributes that describe the existence of a person. They are rather convincing because these characteristics draw on one’s credibility.  A good example is the Greek narcissist Narcissus who was so fascinated by his reflection that he became self-obsessed with it (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003). A person with this kind of attribute will hide signs of social anxiety and mistrust and show signs of concern and attention. Primary symptoms are generalized behavior affected by conditions. 2) Central traits: those traits display what you think of your personality. You might see yourself as smart, kind, and outgoing. Allport believes that we all have at least five or ten of these traits to a certain degree. A few examples would be honesty, friendliness, generosity, anxiety, and diligence. 3) Secondary traits: this personality trait reveals itself in certain circumstances. For example, you may be a quiet, easy-going person, but if someone gets you upset or angry, or if you find yourself under a lot of pressure, you can become short-tempered, confused, or lash out. Another example is if you usually are calm but having to speak in front of an audience makes you nervous.

Eysenck‘s theory implies only two behavior types: introversion and extroversion are one of them. Introverts concentrate emphasis on experiences internally, rendering them reserved, while extroverts force power on the environment, providing themselves welcoming. The other is neuroticism. Neuroticism contributes to dysfunctional feelings. Moral consistency displays emotional regulation (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003).

On the other side, the Big Five trait theory maintains that sometimes the various strategies concentrate on individual traits, while other techniques have so many characteristics. 

Therefore, it seeks to describe personality in a simplistic but comprehensive way. Relevant five components are: 1) Extroversion: the act, state, or habit of being concerned mostly about something that brings gratification outside of the self. 2) Agreeableness: the quality of being enjoyable and pleasant. It is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are brought forth as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, and considerate. 3) Conscientiousness: the wish to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly. 4) Neuroticism: One of the Big-Five high order personality traits in the study of psychology. The personality trait of the tendency to experience negative emotions. 5) openness to experience:

Also, one of the traits in the Big-Five Factor model, openness involves dimensions, including active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity (Cobb-Clark & Schurer,2012).

Comparing and contrasting the trait model and psychodynamic model

The name of any model allows us to make sense of the process. The psycho- prefix means  “thought,” and the suffix-dynamic means “practice.” This is a study of the actions of the mind. Often, we see our minds as an involved force of our life’s interactions. Still, the adherents of this theory tell us the mind plays a significant and influential function not just in what we do consciously, but in everything we do unconsciously. All models, except temperament, emerged in various contexts based on individual traits.

The attribute concept offers internal characteristics to clarify measurable human behavior; an introvert, for example, is shy. The psychodynamic hypothesis often connects actions into implicit mental forces; conscience, subconscious, and desire for control Fairbairn 2013).  Trait hypotheses like Allport provide an ideographical methodology to objectively analyze individuals through their traits to describe the particular form of behavior. We do have attributes that form conduct trends. Psychodynamics then, employs a method by generalizing and and analyzing individuals while describing specific relationships between people. We describe actions through implicit incentives or disagreements that are rather complex and uncertain. The trait hypotheses is analytical because they analyze the mechanisms around individual behavior during their assessment. On the other hand, psychodynamic approaches are pragmatic in that they stress children’s interactions as critical behavioral variables (Fairbairn, 2013). They define and forecast trends of behavior, but they do not explain why people act in a certain way.

Conclusion It is interesting to research the identities and the ways and ideologies of each individual. As you can see, there are different opinions among those who study this area. Nonetheless, they support one another, and researchers continue to improve the research that is popular in all analytical actions of their counterparts. What is important to remember is that we have specific characteristics. Each of us has certain characteristics which rule our personalities,  and, which can come about in several circumstances. Therefore, our traits will evolve with time and can be define by our experience. Although personality trait theories include some elements that certain theories regarding personality ignore, such as Freud’s psychoanalytical hypothesis, limitations remain. Major critiques are that the approach to Trait theory can not anticipate the behavior of individuals. And if an individual could achieve a higher score,   he/she will be looked at differently. Failure to understand the presence of variations within individual personalities is another big flaw in these theories.

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