Essay on The Trait Theory of Personality

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The study of personality traits is beneficial in identifying the many variables that exist from human to human; the combinations of these variables provide us with a true level of individuality and uniqueness. In the field of psychology, trait theory is considered to be a key approach to the study of human personality (Crowne, 2007; Burton, Westen & Kowalski, 2009). This paper aims to identify a number of significant contributors who have played crucial roles in both the development and application of trait theory. This paper then moves focus to these theorists, outlining their theory and analysing both the strengths and weaknesses of those theories. An illustration of the methods used in trait measurement is given and includes the…show more content…
Cardinal traits were rare and included traits that dominated a person, central traits were more general and descriptive of the individual, secondary traits were situational and related to an individual’s attitude and preference (Srivastava, 2005, p. 231). According to Buchanan (2010), German born psychologist Hans Eysenck devoted much of his career to both personality and intelligence research with much of this time spent in British universities. According to Haggbloom (2002), Eysenck’s research was thoroughly respected with him being the most regularly cited psychologist in science journals at the time of his passing. In 1947 Eysenck’s first book outlined what Eysenck viewed as the two central factors of personality; neuroticism and introversion/extraversion. Five years later Eysenck added another factor; psychoticism (Buchanan, 2010, p. 73). According to Carnivez & Allen (2005), British born psychologist Raymond Cattell centred his studies on factor analysis. His work observed him meticulously reduce Allport’s list of traits to less than two hundred. Applying his factor analysis knowledge, Cattell developed the 16PF questionnaire in 1949. Now in its fifth edition, it is still in wide use to this day (Boyle, Matthews & Saklofske, 2008). According to Tucker (2009), Cattell argued that while Eysenck’s three factor approach to personality was simpler, his own method was more thorough.
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