Personality and that an individual’s current image

Personality Theory Blog

 

Personality, some define this as
the characteristics and qualities that make a person who they are. Someone’s
personality makes up a big part of who they are and, also determines how they
will possibly react to certain situations. Typically, personality is what
people remember about an individual after they have first met them. There are
traits in a person that come out in their personality that make them who they
are. The personality theory that looks deeper into the traits that make up an
individual’s personality is individual psychology also known as the trait
theory.

Trait Theory

The trait theory looks more into what makes one person
different from the next. Gordon Allport emphasizes a person’s individuality and
their unique traits. He believed that a person’s motivation was a process and
that an individual’s current image of who they are is more important than who
they were and what they did in their past (Feist, Feist, & Roberts, 2014). Allport
believed that an individual’s personality was influenced by three major traits
across groups of people and cultures. These traits are cardinal traits, central
traits and secondary traits.

Cardinal traits are traits that are the most
predominant and shape an individual’s personality (Feist, Feist, & Roberts,
2014).  Central traits are more general,
are different from person to person in varying degrees and are basically the
building blocks of a person’s personality (Feist, Feist, & Roberts,
2014).  Secondary traits are considered
to be hidden because they are only visible in certain situations (Feist, Feist,
& Roberts, 2014).  The strengths of
the trait theory include the ability to categorize observable behaviors, uses
objective criteria for categorizing and measuring behavior, and above all uses
objectivity (Feist, Feist, & Roberts, 2014).  As with everything in psychology when there
are strengths there are also limitations to each theory. The limitations with
the trait theory from critics of this theory include traits are predictive in
value, they require personal observation and require subjective reports. This
could be hard as someone’s bias may be included in their observations. Critics
of this theory also believe it is limited because it does not explain why a
person behaves the way that they do (Feist, Feist, & Roberts, 2014). 

Personality Assessment Practices

The way this personality theory can be assessed is
through the Five Factor Model. This assessment model is built around five
distinct and basic personality dimensions that appear to be universal with all
individuals (Matsumato & Juang, 2013). “The five dimensions are
neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and
conscientiousness”, (Matsumato & Juang, 2013, pg. 269). With each major
trait identified in this assessment there are many sub traits associated with
it. The sub traits are what stand out to me the most with the Five Factor
Model. The reason these stand out to me is because the sub traits are how we
determine the major trait of the individual. These sub traits are what many use
to describe the major trait and also are what are used most to label the
individual. Knowing the characteristics or sub traits of an individual that
include being thoughtful, having good impulse control and have behaviors that
are goal directed will show that that individual is conscientious and will have
the major trait of conscientiousness.

Research Trends

Research trends with the trait theory are showing that
individual traits are pretty universal among cultures. The research
specifically into the big five shows that the five traits are universal
(Mischel, 1968). Research with the trait theory have psychologists believe that
not only are the big five universal but may also be biological (Mischel, 1968).
Research continues to show that the most important qualities that shape our
social environments come from individual traits with in the big five.

Questions to Ponder

            Ponder on these questions: What traits are most
commonly shown through an individual’s personality that will stand out to
society? Out of the five main traits in the five factor model, where does your
personality fit and what are sub traits that you can pick out that describe
you? Why does the trait theory stand out as one of the most unique personality
theories?

            Finally
remember that how a person reacts to a situation will rely mostly on their
personality and situational differences. Personality traits are what help
define a person’s personality and are used in the assessment of an individual’s
personality. An individual’s personality makes up a big part of who they are.