Trait Theories of Personality - Essay Example

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Personality refers to the phenomenon defining an individual's unique and comparatively regular prototype of behaviour, thinking pattern and feelings. Since ancient periods different philosophers and scientists frequently hypothesized about the unique nature of human beings in relation to their individual differences…
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Trait Theories of Personality
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Download file to see previous pages There is a persistent debate focusing on the correlation between behaviour and personality. Few studies suggested that in certain contexts, people demonstrate so much variability across situations that the appropriate predictions can be made on the basis of available factors incorporating the interrelation among behaviour and personality (Mischel, 1985). Other studies, on the other hand, suggested that there is a significant degree of correlation in the behaviour of individuals across situation (Heatherton & Weinberger, 1994; Steel & Rentsch, 1997). Personality traits can be defined in the terms of specific characteristics or dimensions of personality or personality factorials contributing to the individual differences with a continuum of variation ranging from very low to very high. Trait theories of personality focus on the identification of the key dimensions along which the individual differences occur. This paper aims at outlining of two trait theories - (1) Trait 16PF by Raymond Cattell and (2) Big 5 factors of personality and to analyse the contributions they have made in our understanding of personality.
In focus of identifying the basic dimensions of personality, Raymond Cattell and his colleagues (Cattell & Dreger, 1977) conducted an extensive research programmer including thousands of individuals in an intention to measure the individual differences on the basis of hundreds of traits. This experiment reveals the correlation among different traits by means of identifying the extension to which these trait factors are correlated with each other as well as determining the significant clusters of traits or groups of traits interlinked with each other. On the basis of the findings through factorial analysis of their research, they distinguished among sixteen source traits as demonstrated in Table I as well as 32 surface traits. Through factor analysis, Cattell distinguished between surface traits and source traits. Surface traits define the clusters of correlated variables, whereas source traits symbolizes for the fundamental structures of personality. Hence, Cattell regarded source traits with more significance compared to surface traits (Hall & Lindzey, 1978). The defined source traits have become the fundamental foundation for the 16PF model.
However, the theory of 16PF personality had been greatly criticised. The most prevalent criticism includes its inability to replicate data in successive experimentations. Howarth and Brown (1971) explained through their study that the 10 personality factors out of 16 have been failed to correlate. There are several other studies which actually fail to analyse and validate 16 personality factors at the primary level of experimentation (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985; Noller, Law, Comrey, 1987; Schuerger, Zarrella, & Hotz, 1989). But on the other hand, there are studies which agree with the successful validation of four personality factors out of 16 personality factors ((Noller, Law & Comrey, 1987).
Big Five Factor of Personality
In current situation, the primary area of personality research in concern essentially focus on the five key or central dimension of personality, known as five-factor model or Big Five ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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