Trait Theory – History of Personality Psychology

the words personality and trait go
hand-in-hand whenever you take online
quizzes about your personality you
probably get some traits as your answer
well these quizzes show us how we’re
different from other people but
sometimes we share the same answers as
our friends and our neighbors in this
the video I’m gonna be discussing how trait
the perspective of psychology works and how
psychologists have organized different
traits to show how we relate to
different people so what is a trait
what’s not a trait
well I’ll show you by describing the
different traits of traits first traits
describe meaningful differences among
individuals let’s talk about eating food
everyone eats food it is a behavior that
we all participate in to survive it’s
driven by biology the way that you eat
your food however could be a sign of
different personality traits
sometimes the habits in which you eat
your food could be signs of cultural
differences some people are taught to
eat with their hand’s others are taught
to keep their mouth closed or maybe even
slurp their soup but if someone is in a
room with people who have different
eating habits their personality may
greatly influence how they approach the
situation are they conscious of how
people are eating around them do they
even care to fit in well that has a lot
to do with your personality already you
can start to see how genetics your
culture and your personality all form a
complicated spiderweb it can be hard to
trace so secondly traits are stable and
they must be consistent people display
signs of personality traits among
different situations all throughout
their life again culture rules and the
context of a situation will have a big
impact on how someone behaves but if
someone is an honest person
this trait will heavily influence what
it takes for that person to lie or maybe
even justify these actions later now
social psychology is another thing that
I’ll be talking about later on in the
next coming months but it really likes
to take a look at instances when people
break their normal personality traits
third traits are usually displayed as
dimensions or spectrums with extremes at
both ends
for example, introverts and extroverts are
one of the most common sets of
personality traits that we know and talk
about but I’m sure that you know not
everyone identifies or displays the
the behavior of an extreme introvert or an
extreme extrovert
some people are ambivert and fall in the
middle of these two extremes fourth
traits rely on language if I don’t have
a word that can describe how a person is
or how they act then we cannot call it a
trait right now there’s something called
the lexical hypothesis theory that says
that there’s a B
havior that is so prominent in human
behavior throughout the time well we’ll
create a word for it if we don’t have a
the word that describes a trait or behavior
and it must not be very prevalent and it
doesn’t deserve a word you need to know
that lexical hypothesis is a theory
though last certainly not least
traits are objective behavior now this
is especially important to remember if
you’re describing yourself or another
person’s personality traits an introvert
is not necessarily good or bad
introversion may benefit a person in
certain situations you can’t write off
any trait simply as good or bad culture
again plays a part here in some cultures
competitive behavior may be an advantage
like if you’re growing a start-up but it
maybe a disadvantage if you’re trying
to develop meaningful relationships so
you need to know that traits aren’t good
or bad that you may be raised in a
a culture that teaches you to be agreeable
or amicable someone across the world may
be raised to be independent and put
themselves first both traits seem more
positive or negative depending on
whatever your goals your values or your
beliefs are traits must also be a
the behavior for example we can say that
someone is six feet tall that’s not a
personality trait though it’s a physical
trait it’s also not a behavior on the
same note though being six feet tall or
having long hair or looking beautiful
will affect how other people behave
towards you and how other people behave
towards you will have started to affect
how you behave towards them so keep this
in mind, it’s especially important in
social psychology so there are four
people to know in the world of trait
psychology and these psychologists have
spent almost their entire life work
looking at how we can organize traits
into a central group of terms or
spectrums that can be applied to all
people basically they write in the
answers to our personality quizzes so
let’s get to know them
number one is Gordon Allport Gordon
Allport is a great trait theorist to
start off with back in the early part of
the 20th century he went through the
dictionary and found this is amazing
4,500 words that could be considered
personality traits nowadays they’re
around 18,000 traits descriptive
adjectives but anyways from those 4,500
words he came up with three different
types of traits the first category
consists of Cardinal traits
now these traits and behaviors rule how
you approach things that you’re
passionate about punctual is a classic
example of a cardinal trait
it is usually influenced by some desire
to impress or to be ready to get to work
if someone had to describe you in three
words those three words that they pick
probably be your Cardinal traits in fact
some traits are actually named after
people for example Machiavellian
Freudian or christ-like the second
category is central traits these traits
are found to a certain degree in almost
every person honesty agreeableness or
jealousy they’re all considered central
traits that may or may not come from our
genetic makeup and last is secondary
traits these traits may apply to
different situations depending on the
context of that situation in general you
might be a respective person but if you
dislike a certain authority figure or
maybe even another person in your life
people may see you have roots side to
you another word for these are attitudes
or preferences the second person we need
to take a look at is cattle when you
look at 4,500 words you’re bound to find
some repeats and synonyms well in the
1960s cattle took 4,500 trait words from
all port and move them down to 171
traits he wasn’t done yet
he used something called factor analysis
to look for trends in these 171 words
and narrow them down to the most
influential traits he came down to 16
using a process called factor analysis a
factor analysis can be used to look at
enormous amounts of data in order to
look for trends and see which elements
are the most influential or which ones
are the most important in the get rid of
redundancies remember what I said about
traits being on a spectrum well it could
tell 16 personality traits were on a
spectrum so each of these 16 words had a
direct opposite most people fit in
somewhere in the middle of these two
I guess I’ll put up a picture on the
the screen of these 16 dimensions anyways as
you can see some of these personalities
traits are very similar for example
private under introversion is very
similar to loner under independence the
the third person that we need to talk about
is I sink had a specific job
whenever he developed his theory around
the same time that Cattell was
developing his theories on personality
eyes Inc worked at a psychiatric
hospital in London now his job was to
make an initial assessment of the
patients Isak noticed that there were
certain trends he found that soldiers
for example, seemed to answer questions
in a very similar way maybe these
answers revealed specific traits that
led a person to become a soldier
Isaac called this first personality
traits when Isaac is most known for
however, is the pin model PE in he
narrowed down the most important
personality traits to just three traits
psychoticism extraversion and
neuroticism now these might sound like
negative traits but let’s take a look
what they actually mean psychoticism
whenever an individual engages in risky
and irresponsible behavior people with
high psychoticism are usually more
aggressive extraversion when an
the individual engages in a lot of social
activities also an extrovert is
considered under aroused and their
cortical arousal can actually be
measured with skin conductance and
lastly is neuroticism when an
individual’s mood and emotions fluctuate
more than normal we consider them
neurotic Isaac said that people
experienced more flight or flight
reactions than most people again these
are all on spectrums Isaac theorized
that we all display some level of these
traits but we just expressed them to
different degrees part of his theory
comes from the belief that our
personality traits come from our
genetics now I save the big five for
last, because we’ll go through the theory
in more detail in a whole video
psychology credits a small group of
psychologists with the development of
this theory and it seems to be the best
one that we have so far it is a happy
the medium between the three personality
traits developed by Isaac and the
sixteen developed by Cattell these are
the big five also known as the ocean
theory similar to the pin model ocean is
an acronym for five different traits
that all humans display some degree of
so take some time to think about your
personality traits you certainly have a
lot of ways to assess the traits that
you hold your friends and family already
probably have a few choice words to
describe your personality now the more
that you reflect on your personality and
remember these traits are objective the
more than you can start to understand
yourself this self-awareness will help
you find and approach opportunities that
best fit your personality traits for
example if you know that you’re an
introvert you can use this knowledge to
create a schedule or pursue
opportunities that allow introverts to
shine maybe you’re not sure if you’re an
introvert or an extrovert well you can
check out my free three-in-one
personality quiz in the description
below it basically combines three of the
major personality quizzes into one quiz
that you can take in under 10 minutes it
also predicts all kinds of things about
you like your political stances your
relationship style your health it’s
actually pretty cool so if you like this
video feel free to watch some of the
other videos in this personality series
and if you didn’t enjoy this video leave
comment below so that I can make these
videos better thank you so much for
watching and I hope to see you in the
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