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Flashcards in Trait Theories Deck (96):

bodily self

In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails coming to know one’s body and its limits.


cardinal disposition

In Allport’s theory, a personal disposition so pervasive that almost every behavior of an individual appears to be influenced by it.


central disposition

In Allport’s theory, a highly characteristic tendency of an individual.


closed system

A concept of personality that admits little or nothing new from outside the organism to influence or change it in any significant way.


common traits

In Allport’s theory, hypothetical construct that permits the comparison of individuals on shared dimensions within a given culture.


continuity theory

A theory that suggests that the development of personality is essentially an accumulation of skills, habits, and discriminations without anything really new appearing in the makeup of the person.


discontinuity theory

A theory of personality that suggests that in the course of development an organism experiences genuine transformations or changes so that it reaches successively higher levels of organization.


expressive behavior

In Allport’s theory, an individual’s manner of performing.


functional autonomy

In Allport’s theory, a concept that present motives are not necessarily tied to the past but may be free of earlier motivations.



In Allport’s theory, an approach to studying personality employing techniques and variables that centers on understanding the uniqueness of the individual.



In Murray’s theory, a force in the brain that organizes perception, understanding, and behavior in such a way as to change an unsatisfying situation and increase satisfaction.



In Allport’s theory, an approach to studying personality that considers large groups of individuals in order to infer general variables or universal principles.


perseverative functional autonomy

In Allport’s theory, acts or behaviors that are repeated even though they may have lost their original function.


personal dispositions

In Allport’s theory, traits that are unique to an individual.



Murray’s term for his study of individual persons.



In Murray’s theory, a force coming from the environment that helps or hinders an individual in reaching goals.



In Murray’s theory, a short, significant behavior pattern that has a clear beginning and ending.


propriate functional autonomy

In Allport’s theory, acquired interests, values, attitudes, intentions, and life-style that are directed from the proprium and are genuinely free of earlier motivations.


propriate functions

In Allport’s theory, functions of the proprium that develop gradually as an individual grows from infancy to adulthood and constitute an evolving sense of self as known and felt.


propriate striving

In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails projection of long-term purposes and goals and development of a plan to attain them.



In Allport’s theory, the central experiences of selfawareness that people have as they grow and move forward.


secondary dispositions

In Allport’s theory, specific, focused tendencies that are often situational in character and less crucial to the personality structure.


self-as-rational coper

In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails the perception of oneself as an active problem-solving agent.



In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails feelings of pride as one develops the ability to do things.



In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails a sense of possession and valuing of others.



In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails an awareness of inner sameness and continuity.



In Allport’s theory, a propriate function that entails a sense of the expectations of others and its comparison with one’s own behavior.



Continuous dimension that an individual can be seen to possess to a certain degree. In Allport’s theory, a determining tendency to respond that represents the ultimate reality of psychological organization. In Cattell’s theory, an imaginary construct or inference from overt behavior that helps to explain it.


behavioral genetics

Study of heritable causes of individual differences.


Big Five

The five factors that typically surface from personality questionnaires and inventories: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.



Improving the human race through genetic control.


evolutionary psychology

The branch of psychology that considers the impact of evolution on psychological mechanisms.


factor analysis

Employed by Cattell, a correlational procedure that describes large amounts of data in smaller, more manageable units by interrelating many correlations at one time.


Five-Factor Model (FFM)

A hypothesis for understanding personality structure based on five factors.



The genetic makeup of an individual.



An estimate of the degree to which a trait or characteristic is caused by the genotype rather than the environment.



An individual’s observable appearance and behavior that arise out of the interaction of his or her genotype with the environment.


positive psychology

A branch of psychology that seeks to study and understand the complex positive behavior of people in order to emphasize the systematic building and amplifying of human strengths and virtues.


source traits

In Cattell’s theory, underlying variables that determine surface manifestations.


surface traits

In Cattell’s theory, clusters of overt behavior responses that appear to go together.



In Cattell’s theory, dimensions that permit us to describe and differentiate among groups and institutions.



Eysenck’s approach to personality, which emphasizes biological and genetic factors as well as social and environmental ones.



In Sheldon’s theory, a component of temperament characterized by a predominance of restraint, inhibition, and the desire for concealment.



One of Hippocrates’ temperaments, referring to an individual who tends to be irascible and violent.


criterion analysis

A method of analysis employed by Eysenck that begins with a hypothesis about possible variables and conducts statistical analyses in order to test the hypothesis.


emotionality versus stability

One of Eysenck’s personality dimensions, involving an individual’s adjustment to the environment and the stability of his or her behavior over time.


evoked potential

Electrical activity in the brain.


extraversion versus introversion

One of Eysenck’s personality dimensions, involving the degree to which a person is outgoing and participative in relating to other people.



Chemicals released into the blood stream by the endocrine glands.



In earlier psychology, bodily fluids thought to enter into the constitution of a body and determine, by their proportion, a person’s constitution and temperament.



An attitude in which the psyche is oriented inward to the subjective world.



One of Hippocrates’ temperaments, referring to an individual characterized by depression.


PEN model

In Eysenck’s theory, the three major superfactors: psychoticism, extraversion, and neuroticism.



One of Hippocrates’ temperaments, referring to an individual who is slow, solid, and apathetic.



One of Eysenck’s personality dimensions, involving the loss or distortion of reality and the inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy.


reticular activating system

The part of the brain that regulate levels of arousal ranging from sleep to states of high alertness.



One of Hippocrates’ temperaments, referring to a personality marked by sturdiness, high color, and cheerfulness.



In Sheldon’s theory, a component of temperament characterized by a predominance of muscular activity and vigorous bodily assertiveness.


visceral brain

The limbic system and the hypothalamus.


Discuss Allport's definition of personality

Allport described and classified over 50 definitions of personality before finalizing his own definition "Personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behaviour and thought."


Distinguish between continuity and discontinuity theories of personality

Continuity - closed and admit little change
Discontinuity - open, and provide for extensive growth


Explain how common traits differ from personal dispositions

Common traits - hypothetical constructs that permit us to make comparisons between individuals
Personal dispositions - unique to each person.
Common traits and personal dispositions are studied by different research methods


Distinguish among three levels of personal dispositions

Cardinal, central, and secondary.


Explain why Allport coined the term proprium

to refer to the central experience of self-awareness that a person has in growing and moving forward


Discuss the concept of functional autonomy

implies that adult motivation is not necessarily tied to the past. there are 2 types of functional autonomy: Perseverative and propriate


Discuss Allport's concept of maturity

Allport was one of the first theorists to discuss the healthy personality. He posited 6 criteria of maturity


Distinguish between nomothetic and idiographic approaches to the study of personality and give examples of each

Nomothetic - studies large groups of individuals in order to infer general variables or universal principles.
Idiographic - centres on the individual, using techniques that are appropriate to understanding the uniqueness of each person


Evaluate Allports theory of from the viewpoints of philosophy, science, and art.

Allport respected and used the methods of rigorous science in establishing common traits, but he also recognized the value of other methods and the need to understand the individual philosophically as well as scientifically.


Describe the study of personology.

Refers to his unique interdisciplinary study of the individual, which employs a wide array of clinical, psychoanalytic, and experimental methods


Identify the units by which Murray suggests behaviour can be studied

Separated behaviour into identifiable units. The basic unit is a proceeding, a succession or proceedings is a serial, a planned series is a serial program, and a plan for resolving conflicting proceedings is a schedule.


Explain how Murray studied human needs and identify Murary's 20 basic human needs

need is a construct representing a force in the brain that organizes our perception, understanding, and behaviour in such a way as to lead us to change an unsatisfying situation. Needs can be inferred from behavioural signs and confirmed through subjective reports. The 20 basic needs identified are: dominance, deference, autonomy, aggression, abasement, achievement, sex, sentience, exhibition, play, affiliation, rejection, succorance, nurturing, infavoidance, defendance, counteraction, harm avoidance, order, and understanding


Explain what Murray means by press and give examples

Press - a force from the environment that helps or hinders an individual in reaching goals. Murray distinguishes between alpha press and beta press. Examples of press are poverty, illness, and encouragement.


Discuss assessment and research in Murray's theory, and describe the Thematic Apperception Test

Murray used interdisciplinary and idiographic approach to the study of personology. He set up a diagnostic council in which several different specialists would study individual and integrate in their findings. The Thematic Apperception Test is a projective device in which a person makes up a story for ambiguous pictures. These stories may be interpreted in terms of needs, press and thema.


Evaluate Murray's theory from the viewpoints of philosophy, science, and art.

Murray's interdisciplinary approach was unprecedented. It helps to underscore the values of an interdisciplinary approach to understanding personality and the limitations of a narrow model.


Cite Cattell's definition of personality, and compare his personality theorizing with that of other theorists.

Cattell defined personality as "that which permits prediction of what a person will do in a given situation." His interest in personality theorizing was clearly oriented toward prediction


Distinguish between source and surface traits, give examples of each, and explain how Cattell identified traits through factor analysis.

Surface traits - clusters of overt behaviour responses that appear to go together
Source traits - the underlying variables, which may have their origin in hereditary or in influence in the environment
Cattell identified 16 basic source traits that he considered the 'building blocks' of personality. He used factor analysis to identify traits. Factor analysis is a correlational procedure that interrelates many correlations at one time and identifies common underlying dimensions


Identify the terms most commonly used to describe the Big 5



Discuss how the Big 5 originated from the study of language and the study of personality questionnaires and ratings

The study of language led to a descriptive model of personality traits that has been replicated across languages. The study of personality questionnaires led to an explanatory hypothesis of traits


Describe the difference between the Big 5, the 5-factor model, and the 5-factor theory

Big 5 - summary of attributions

5 Factor - seeks to advance some further claims, there are differences concerning the exact nature of each of the 5 factors because of the various ways of conducting factor analysis. Researchers also differ on whether the 5 factors go beyond description to provide a causal analysis. 5 factor seeks to account for the research associated with the FFM


Discuss the applications of the Big 5 and the 5-factor model and theory.

Research on the Big 5 has been successfully used to study emotional intelligence and psychological well being to predict job performance and job satisfaction, to diagnose personality disorders, and to determine the appropriate therapy.


Discuss the implications of the FFM for the new DSM 5

DSM 5 was influenced by the FFM in integrating a dimensional as well as a categorical approach to the diagnosis of personality pathology.


Define behavioural genetics, and distinguish between genotypes and phenotypes

Behavioural genetics explores hereditary causes of individual differences. It distinguishes between the genotypes, genetic makeup, and phenotype, observable appearance of behaviour.


Explain how twin studies contribute to behavioural genetics

Twin studies are useful in behavioural genetics because they permit us to make comparisons that suggest the genetic determination of traits.


Explain the concept of heritability

An estimate of the degree to which variance in a trait is due to genetics


Discuss the application of genetic research

Helps us to learn about the genetic basis of traits so that we can develop prevention and intervention strategies for problematic conditions.


Describe evolutionary psychology influences personality theory

Helps us understand that psychological mechanisms such as the Big 5 evolved because they solve specific adaptive problems in human ancestral environments.


Evaluate factor analytic trait theories from the various viewpoints of philosophy, science, and art.

Excellent samples of scientific theories of personality


Describe some of the historical predecessors to Eysenck's theory

Hippocrates, Kant, Wundt, Jung, Kretschmer, and Sheldon


Explain how Eysenck constructed a model of personality

Sought to construct a model of personality by giving a description of personality based on factor analysis and then identifying the biological causes of personality thorough experimental studies


Describe the superfactors that Eysenck identified through factor analysis, and compare them with those of Cattell and with the Big 5

Extraversion-introversion, emotional stability-neuroticism, and psychoticism. There are similarities but significant differences between Eysenck, Cattell, and the Big 5 theories.


Describe how Eysenck measured traits

Rigorously employed scientific methods in assessment. He criticized the shortcomings of earlier versions of ratings and inventories, constructed more accurate questionnaires and developed a number of self-report inventories to measure the dimensions he has identified.


Identify the hypothesized causal agents of extraversion versus introversion, emotionality versus stability, and psychoticism in Eysenck's theory, and indicate how his work relates to current research on the brain

Suggested that E/I is related to arousal thresholds in the ascending reticular activating system of the brain and emotional stability-neuroticism to differences in the visceral brain activity and that psychoticism may be due to hormone levels. Although his model of how the brain works has become outdated, his work anticipated current developments in brain research.


Describe the biological basis of behaviour and neurosis in Eysenck's theory and current research.

Connected personality and neurosis to biological bases and to the interplay between the genotype and the environment. Research continues identifying genetic markers and brain mechanisms


Discuss Eysenck's contribution to understanding intelligence

believed it was related to evoked potential


Describe some of the applications of Eysenck's theory

Fostered research in many fields, such as education, the study of creativity, criminal justice, evolutionary theory, religious motivations, diagnosis of psychopathology, psychotherapy, and PTSD


Evaluate Eysenck's theory from the viewpoints of philosophy, science and art.

Excellent model of scientific approach.