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Chapter 7. TRAIT THEORIES: ALLPORT, EYSENCK, CATTELL . QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER.

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Chapter 7


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    1. Chapter 7 TRAIT THEORIES: ALLPORT, EYSENCK, CATTELL

    2. QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER • What are the main ways in which people differ from each another in their thoughts, feelings, and behavior? How many different personality traits are needed to adequately describe these individual differences? • Does every person have a unique set of personality traits or is there a universal set of traits that provides a taxonomy of individual differences? • If people can be described in terms of traits, how can we explain variability in behavior over time and across situations?

    3. TRAIT THEORY’S VIEW OF THE PERSON TRAIT = a consistent pattern of behavior, emotion, and thought • 2 connotations: • Stability (traits describe regularity in behavior) • Distinctiveness (traits distinguish among individuals) • Assumption - people possess psychological qualities that endure over time and across situations • Building a personality theory on traits implies that people are consistent regardless of experience

    4. TRAIT THEORY’S VIEW OF THE SCIENCE OF PERSONALITY SCIENTIFIC FUNCTIONS SERVED BY TRAIT CONSTRUCTS • Description • Traits summarize a person’s typical behavior, emotion, and thought and, thus, what a person is usually like • Trait theories provide descriptive facts that must be explained by other theories of personality • Most trait theorists try to establish a framework within which any and all persons can be described • Trait theorists try to establish a personality taxonomy = a way of classifying the traits being studied

    5. TRAIT THEORY’S VIEW OF THE SCIENCE OF PERSONALITY SCIENTIFIC FUNCTIONS SERVED BY TRAIT CONSTRUCTS • Prediction • With traits, one should be able to predict everyday behavior and aspects of personal environments • With traits, one can make predictions that have practical value (e.g., predicting which applicants are most appropriate for a job)

    6. TRAIT THEORY’S VIEW OF THE SCIENCE OF PERSONALITY SCIENTIFIC FUNCTIONS SERVED BY TRAIT CONSTRUCTS • Explanation • The most important challenge for a scientific theory; differs from prediction • One can predict without being able to explain and can explain without being able to predict • Some trait theorists use traits to describe and predict • Others treat traits as if they can explain – inferring biological factors that underlie traits • Most trait theorists believe that inherited genetic factors are the main determinant of individual differences in traits (40-60%)

    7. PERSPECTIVES SHARED BY TRAIT THEORISTS • People possess broad predispositions to respond in certain ways • People who have a strong tendency to respond in certain ways are high on certain traits; people who have less of a tendency to respond in certain ways are low on certain traits • There is a correlation between possession of a certain trait and performance on trait-related actions • Traits can be organized hierarchically

    8. GORDON W. ALLPORT OVERVIEW • A visit with Freud early in his career solidified his view that psychoanalysis, “for all its merits, may plunge too deep, and that psychologists would do well to give full recognition to manifest motives before probing the unconscious” (Allport, 1967, p. 8). • Highlighted healthy, organized aspects of human behavior, which contrasted the psychoanalytic emphasis on animalistic and neurotic aspects of behavior • Traits are basic units of personality grounded in the nervous system • Traits are defined by their frequency, intensity, and range of situations in which they manifest

    9. GORDON W. ALLPORT PERSONALITY STRUCTURE • Allport & Odbert’s (1936) analysis of personality • Identified 3 different kinds of traits • Cardinal traits = express dispositions that are so pervasive that virtually every act is traceable to its influence (1) • Central traits = express dispositions that cover a more limited range of situations (3-10) • Secondary dispositions = traits that are the least conspicuous, generalized, and consistent (many)

    10. GORDON W. ALLPORT PERSONALITY STRUCTURE • Allport recognized the importance of the situation in explaining why a person does not behave the same way all the time • He felt that both traits and situations are necessary to understand behavior • Traits are needed to explain consistency, whereas situations are needed to explain variability

    11. GORDON W. ALLPORT FUNCTIONAL AUTONOMY • Although the motives of adults may have roots in the tension-reducing motives of children, adults grow out of these early motives • Motives become autonomous from earlier tension-reducing drives and a source of motivation and pleasure in their own right

    12. GORDON W. ALLPORT IDIOGRAPHIC RESEARCH • The idiographic approach adopts the in-depth study of presumably unique individuals as a way to learn about people generally • Contrasts with other trait theorists, who generally adopt a nomothetic approach in which large numbers of individuals are described in terms of a common set of traits

    13. RAYMOND B. CATTELL OVERVIEW • Was a professor and director of the Laboratory of Personality Assessment at the U of I for most of his career • Background in chemistry helped CATTELL to recognize the importance of a taxonomy of traits, much like the periodic table • Viewed factor analysis as the tool for discovering a set of basic “psychological elements” (traits) that would form the foundation of personality

    14. RAYMOND B. CATTELL FACTOR ANALSYIS = a statistical tool for summarizing how a large number of variables are related • In a typical factor-analytic study, many different measures are administered to many respondents • Some scores will be positively correlated with one another; others negatively correlated • These correlations might reflect the influence of a more basic, underlying factor

    15. RAYMOND B. CATTELL • Factor analysis is the main way that trait theorists identify the primary trait dimensions of personality • Factor analysis identifies patterns of covariation in responses, yet does not explain why these responses covary • The researcher, using his or her knowledge of psychology and related fields, interprets the patterns of covariation

    16. RAYMOND B. CATTELL STRUCTURE • Surface traits = response tendencies that can be observed in various situations • Source traits = core internal psychological structures that are the underlying cause of the observed intercorrelations among surface traits

    17. RAYMOND B. CATTELL STRUCTURE • The factors that summarize the correlations among surface traits are called source traits, • CATTELL identified 16 source traits which he grouped into 3 categories: • Ability traits = traits that facilitate adaptive functioning • Temperament traits = traits that influence emotions • Dynamic traits = traits that direct motivation

    18. RAYMOND B. CATTELL SOURCES OF EVIDENCE: L-DATA, Q DATA, AND OT-DATA • L-data = life-record data • Measures of behavior in everyday situations (e.g., school performance) • May be actual counts of behavior or ratings based on observations • Q-data = self-report or questionnaire data

    19. RAYMOND B. CATTELL SOURCES OF EVIDENCE: L-DATA, Q DATA, AND OT-DATA • OT-data = objective-test data • Recording of behavior in situations where participants are unaware of the relationship between their responses and a certain trait (e.g., experiment) • The trait of assertiveness can be expressed behaviorally, such as fast tempo in arm-shoulder movement or fast speed of letter comparisons

    20. RAYMOND B. CATTELL SOURCES OF EVIDENCE: L-DATA, Q DATA, AND OT-DATA • CATTELL’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PF) was derived from factor analyses of Q-data • However, CATTELL was concerned with possible self-deception in questionnaire responses and the wisdom of psychiatric patients’ self-ratings • Later, he relied on OT-data in his factor-analytic research

    21. RAYMOND B. CATTELL STABILITY AND VARIABILITY • CATTELL did not view people as static organisms who respond the same way in all situations • He highlighted two other determinants of action: states and roles • States = fluctuations in emotion (mood) that are partly influenced by the immediate situation • Roles = responses prescribed by interpersonal relations in discrete sociocultural circumstances • Traits, states, and roles interact in complex ways to produce behavior in situations

    22. HANS J. EYSENCK OVERVIEW • Eysenck’s three-factor theory was influenced by • Factor analysis • Psychologists who studied personality types (e.g., Jung) • Experimental work on classical conditioning by Pavlov • Eysenck believed that psychoanalysis failed to provide reliable and valid measures of personality constructs • Eysenck believed that sound measures of individual differences were necessary to identify the biological foundations of traits • Eysenck recognized that without understanding the biology of traits, trait explanations could be circular

    23. HANS J. EYSENCK STRUCTURE • SUPERFACTORS (TYPES) • Secondary factor analysis = when factors are themselves correlated, the intercorrelations among factors can themselves be factor-analyzed • Secondary factor analysis is used to identify an even simpler set of superfactors that are independent (i.e., not correlated) of each other • Introversion-Extraversion = organizes lower-level traits such as activity level, excitability, liveliness, and sociability • Neuroticism (emotional stability vs. instability) = organizes traits such as anxiety, depression, moodiness, and shyness

    24. HANS J. EYSENCK STRUCTURE • SUPERFACTORS (TYPES) • Everyone possesses a greater or lesser amount of introversion - extraversion and emotional instability – emotional stability (neuroticism) • Any individual can be located within the two-dimensional space of this model

    25. HANS J. EYSENCK STRUCTURE • SUPERFACTORS (TYPES) • Eysenck later added a third superfactor • Psychoticism = abnormal qualities, including aggressiveness, antisocial tendencies, lack of empathy, and idiosyncratic thinking • Eysenck’s three factors are: PEN

    26. HANS J. EYSENCK MEASURING SUPERFACTORS • Eysenck developed self-report items to measure each factor • The typical extravert will answer “Yes” to • “Do other people think of you as very lively?” • “Would you be unhappy if you could not see lots of people most of the time?” • The typical introvert will answer “Yes” to • “Generally, do you prefer reading to meeting people?” • “Are you mostly quiet when you are with people?”

    27. HANS J. EYSENCK MEASURING SUPERFACTORS • Eysenck also devised objective indices based on his belief in the biological basis for individual differences in personality • Lemon drop test - lemon juice is placed on a participant’s tongue • Introverts and extraverts differ in the amount of saliva they produce in response to stimulation

    28. HANS J. EYSENCK BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF PERSONALITY • Individual differences in introversion-extraversion reflect individual differences in the neurophysiological functioning of the cortex of the brain • Introverts experience more cortical arousal from events than do extraverts (e.g., intense social stimuli overarouse introverts, leading to socially inhibition and withdrawal • Extraverts experience less cortical arousal than introverts from the same stimulus (e.g., due to underarousal, extroverts seek and create more lively social environments)

    29. HANS J. EYSENCK BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF PERSONALITY • If traits have a biological basis, then individual differences in introversion-extraversion should be at least partly hereditary • Comparisons of identical with fraternal twins show that heredity accounts for some of the variations between individuals in introversion-extraversion

    30. HANS J. EYSENCK BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF PERSONALITY • Other evidence consistent with Eysenck’s biological theorizing • Individual differences in introversion-extraversion are stable over time • Introversion-extraversion is found cross-culturally • Various indices of biological functioning correlate with introversion-extraversion scores, including: • Brain activity • Heart rate • Hormone level • Sweat-gland activity

    31. HANS J. EYSENCK BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF PERSONALITY • Still other evidence consistent with Eysenck’s biological theorizing indicates that introverts as compared to extraverts • Are more sensitive to pain • Become fatigued more easily • Experience decrements in performance when excited • Tend to be more careful

    32. HANS J. EYSENCK I-E AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR • Campbell & Hawley (1982) investigated the study habits introverts and extraverts • More extraverts than introverts chose to study in library locations where there was external stimulation • Extraverts took more study breaks than did introverts • Extraverts preferred higher noise levels and more opportunities to socialize while studying than did introverts

    33. HANS J. EYSENCK PSYCHOPATHOLOGY • Psychological disorders can be related to superfactors and to central nervous system functioning associated with these superfactors • A person develops neurotic symptoms because the interaction of biological tendencies and environmental experiences produce conditioned emotional reactions to fear-producing stimuli • A majority of neurotic patients tend to have high Neuroticism and low Extraversion scores • Criminals and antisocial people tend to be high on Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Psychoticism

    34. HANS J. EYSENCK BEHAVIOR CHANGE • Eysenck was optimistic about the remediation of psychopathology • Although people inherit genetic predispositions, it is possible for them to • Avoid traumatic situations • Unlearn fear responses • Learn adaptive social conduct