IV. Trait/Dispositional Perspective
A. Introduction
1. Types
2. Traits
B. Traits
1. Definition
2. Assumptions
C. Trait Theorists
1. Commonalities
2. Gordon Allport
3. Raymond Cattell
a. L-data
b. Q-data
c. OT-data
4. Hans Eysenck
a. PEN model
b. E vs I
c. Biological underpinnings
http://ipip.ori.org/ and ttp://www.personalitytest.net/ipip/ipipneo300.htm
Trait/Dispositional Perspective
Types
Examples
Galen: sanguine, melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic
Sheldon: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph
Assumptions
each person fits into one category (discontinuous)
all in a category are basically alike
assumes behavior of people in one category different
from that of people in other categories
Little used in basic personality research
Trait/Dispositional Perspective
Traits
Examples
FFM: agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism,
extraversion, openness to experience
Sensation Seeking
Assumptions
continuum
any person can be placed on it
wide range of behavior
normal distribution
Normal Distribution
Personality Trait
Definition: dimension of personality used to assess
people according to the degree to which they
manifest a particular characteristic
Assumptions
Relatively stable across time
Relatively stable across situations
Key question: how many and what are they?
Personality Trait Theorists
Are legion
Share key assumptions
People have broad dispositions to act in particular ways
Traits are basic building blocks of personality
The same traits characterize all people
idiographic
nomothetic
There are a finite number of traits
A person’s standing on these traits is personality
Personality is hierarchically organized
Eysenck’s Hierarchical
Organization of Personality
Extraversion
sociability
impulsiveness
activity
liveliness
excitability
Gordon Allport
First true trait theorist
Initiated lexical approach: found over 4,000 words
Traits are based on the nervous system
Properties: frequency, intensity, range
Three kinds of traits
Cardinal: Sadism, Machiavellianism
Central: honesty, kindness, assertiveness
Secondary dispositions: attitudes
Emphasized idiographic research
Factor Analysis
Played important role in trait perspective
Basis for arguing certain trait dimensions more
important or more pervasive than others
Development of measures
Assumes nomothetic approach
Assumes single organization of traits
Raymond Cattell
Three methods in the study of personality
bivariate
multivariate
clinical
Trait theory
Ability vs. temperament vs. dynamic traits
Surface vs. source traits
Three sources of data
L-data
Q-data
OT-data
Raymond Cattell (continued)
L-data
Identified 15 factors
Q-data
Began with Allport & Odbert’s list of words
Categorized 4,500 trait labels in 171 clusters
Had students rate friends
Factor analyzed results and identified 16 factors
OT-data
Over 500 tests
21 traits with complex relation to L and Q traits
Questions from 16 PF
For each of the following items, circle the letter of the answer you agree with most.
1. I would rather stop on the sidewalk to watch an artist working than listen to
some people having a quarrel. (a) true, (b) uncertain, (c) false
2. My friends have let me down: (a) hardly ever,
(b) occasionally, (c) quite a lot
3. If someone became angry at me, I would: (a) try to calm him down, (b)
uncertain, (c) get irritated
4. I would rather read: (a) a realistic account of military or political battles, (b)
uncertain, (c) a sensitive, imaginative novel
5. If I make an awkward social blunder, I can easily forget it. (a) yes, (b) in
between, (c) false
6. Because you can't always get things done by gradual reasonable methods, you
sometimes have to use force. (a) true, (b) in between, (c) false
7. When people who are bossy try to "push me around," I do just the opposite of
what they want. (a) yes, (b) in between, (c) no
8. People treat me more poorly than my good intentions deserve. (a) often, (b)
occasionally, (c) never
9. I have sometimes been bothered by people's saying bad things about me
behind my back, when they have no reason at all to do so. (a) yes, (b) uncertain,
(c) no
Scoring
In front of each number item write down a point
value according to these instructions. Give
yourself one point for each "b" response. On items
1, 2, 5, 7, and 9, an "a" is worth 2 points and a "c"
is worth zero points. On items 3, 4, 6, and 8, an
"a" is worth zero and a "c" is worth two points.
After you have written down a point value for each
item, compute three totals: C equals the total of
items 2, 5, and 8; I is the total of items 1, 4, and 6;
and L is the total of items 3, 7, and 9.
http://similarminds.com/cattell-16-factor.html
Cattell’s 16 PF Source Traits
A
Cool
vs.
Warm
B
Concrete thinking
vs.
Abstract thinking
C
Affected by feelings
vs.
Emotionally stable
E
Submissive
vs.
Dominant
F
Sober
vs.
Enthusiastic
G
Expedient
vs.
Conscientious
H
Shy
vs.
Bold
I
Tough-minded
vs.
Tender-minded
L
Trusting
vs.
Suspicious
M
Practical
vs.
Imaginative
N
Forthright
vs.
Shrewd
O
Self-assured
vs.
Apprehensive
Q1
Conservative
vs.
Experimenting
Q2
Group-oriented
vs.
Self-sufficient
Q3
Undisciplined Self-conflict
vs.
Controlled
Q4
Relaxed
vs.
Tense
Correspondence Between Two Sources
Behavior Ratings (L-data)
Ego Strength
Neuroticism
Mature
vs
Unable to tolerate frustration
Steady, persistent
vs
changeable
Emotionally calm
vs
Impulsively emotional
Realistic about problems
vs
Evasive, avoids decisions
Absence of neurotic fatigue
vs
Neurotically fatigued
Questionnaire Responses (Q-data)
Do you find it difficult to take no for an answer even when what you want to do is obviously
impossible? Yes or No
If you had your life to live over again, would you: want it essentially the same? or plan it
differently?
Do you often have really disturbing dreams? Yes or No
Do your moods sometimes make you seem unreasonable even to yourself? Yes or No
Do you feel tired when you’ve done nothing to justify it? Yes or No
Can you change old habits, without relapse, when you decide to? Yes or No
V. Big Five/Five Factor Model
A. Natural Language Approach
1. Fundamental Lexical Hypothesis
2. Criticisms of Natural Language Approach
3. The Big Five http://www.outofservice.com/
B. The Questionnaire Approach
1. Costa and McCrae
2. The Five Factor Model of Personality
3. Criticisms
C. Support for the Big Five and FFM
1. cross-informant agreement
2. structural similarity
2. cross-model support
3. cross-cultural support
Natural Language Approach
Fundamental Lexical Hypothesis
Those individual differences that are most significant in the daily
transactions of persons with each other will eventually become
encoded into their language. The more important such a
difference is, the more people will notice it and wish to talk of it,
with the result that eventually they will invent a word for it.
Natural Language Approach
Criticisms
Adequacy of single words
Reliance on lay persons
Unstable structure
Big Five Assessment
Adjective (single word) checklists
AB5C
BFI
Typically assess only broad domains
Available on Internet http://www.outofservice.com/
BFI: http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/
Star Wars BFI: http://www.outofservice.com/starwars/
IPIP NEO: http://www.personalitytest.net/ipip/ipipneo300.htm
Big Five: Factor I
AKA:
Extraversion
Surgency
Assertiveness
Power
High Scorers:
Talkative, assertive, active, energetic, outgoing,
dominant, forceful, enthusiastic, adventurous
Low Scorers:
Quiet, reserved, shy, silent, withdrawn, retiring
Big Five: Factor II
AKA:
Agreeableness
Likeability
Friendly compliance
Love
High Scorers:
Sympathetic, kind, affectionate, soft-hearted, warm,
trusting, helpful, good-natured, cooperative, unselfish
Low Scorers:
Fault-finding, cold, unfriendly, quarrelsome, unkind,
cruel, thankless, stingy
Big Five: Factor III
AKA:
Conscientiousness
Conformity
Dependability
Impulse control
Work
High Scorers:
Organized, thorough, planful, efficient, reliable,
responsible, dependable, deliberate, cautious
Low Scorers:
Careless, disorderly, frivolous, irresponsible,
slipshod, undependable, forgetful
Big Five: Factor IV
AKA:
Neuroticism
Emotional instability
(lack of) Ego strength
Emotionality
Affect
High Scorers:
Tense, anxious, nervous, moody, touchy, fearful, highstrung, self-pitying, temperamental, emotional
Low Scorers:
Stable, calm, contented, unemotional
Big Five: Factor V
AKA:
Openness to Experience
Culture
Intellect
High Scorers:
Imaginative, wide interests, original, curious,
sophisticated, artistic, clever, ingenious, wise
Low Scorers:
Commonplace, narrow interests, simple, shallow,
unintelligent
Five Factor Model
Criticisms
Lacks theory
Sizable cross-loadings
Lack of specificity at domain level
Numerology?
FFM: Neuroticism
Anxiety
Sometimes I can't stop worrying about things.
Even when things are stressful, I stay calm. (R)
Angry Hostility
I have a quick temper.
It takes a lot to get me mad. (R)
Depression
I blame myself for things that go wrong.
Most people seem to like me. (R)
Self-consciousness
I need to have people tell me that I am okay.
I am very sure of myself. (R)
Impulsiveness
Sometimes I do things that I do not want to do.
When I am tempted, I give in.
Vulnerability
I freeze up under pressure.
I am not a moody person. (R)
FFM: Extraversion
Warmth
I like to talk about what I am feeling.
I'd rather keep my thoughts and feelings to myself. (R)
Gregariousness
I enjoy parties with a lot of people.
It is hard for me to talk to people I don't know. (R)
Assertiveness
I like to take charge of things.
I let other people make decisions for me. (R)
Activity
I have a lot of energy and never get tired.
I usually do things slowly. (R)
Excitement Seeking
I get a thrill from doing things that are a bit dangerous.
I stay away from scary things or places. (R)
Positive Emotions
I am a happy person.
I have little interest in doing things with my friends. (R)
FFM: Openness to Experience
Fantasy
I often get lost in my thoughts and in the fantasy worlds I imagine.
I don't like "pretend" or "make believe" games. (R)
Aesthetics
I like to touch things to see how they feel.
I don't know why people think flowers are beautiful. (R)
Feelings
My feelings have a lot of different shades.
I don't have a lot of different feelings. (R)
Actions
I like to learn and experience new things.
I do not like surprises. (R)
Ideas
I like to look at issues from many different sides.
It's not fun to figure out puzzles and "brain teasers." (R)
Values
I enjoy hearing other people's points of view.
I believe that some opinions are right and others are wrong. (R)
FFM: Agreeableness
Trust
I trust my friends.
Other people try to take advantage of me. (R)
Straightforwardness
I would never act charming in order to get my way.
I am likely to tell a lie if I think I can get away with it. (R)
Altruism
Helping others makes me feel good.
My own interests always come first. (R)
Friendly Compliance
When I am angry with somebody, I try not to show it.
When someone tells me not to do something, I want to more. (R)
Modesty
I would never want to be "stuck up".
I think that I will do great things as I get older. (R)
Tender-mindedness
I could never hurt another living thing.
I like to watch two dogs have a fight. (R)
FFM: Conscientiousness
Competence
I find ways to make things happen and get things done.
I do not try to do things that I am not good at. (R)
Order
I always put my things away before I got to bed.
I often lose my homework assignments. (R)
Dutifulness
I pay back what I borrow.
I sometimes break my promises. (R)
Achievement Striving
Once I start a project, I do not give up easily.
Being second best is okay with me. (R)
Self-discipline
I usually finish what I start.
I have trouble waiting for things I want. (R)
Deliberation
Before I do something I think about whether or not I should do it.
I often do the first thing that comes into my mind. (R)
Support for Big 5 / FFM
Cross informant agreement
Costa, P.T. & McCrae, R.R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality
Inventory(NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI)
professional manual. Odessa, Fl: PAR.
Stability
Costa, P.T. & McCrae, R.R. (1988). Personality in adulthood: A six-year
longitudinal study of self-reports and spouse ratings on the NEO
Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54,
853-863.
Similarity across ages
Goldberg, L.R. (2001). Analyses of Digman's child-personality data:
Derivation of Big-Five Factor scores from each of six samples. Journal of
Personality, 69, 709-743.
Similarity across models
Watson, D., Clark, L.A., & Harkness, A.R. (1994). Structures of
personality and their relevance to psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal
Psychology, 103, 18-31.
Support for Big 5 / FFM
Cross cultural support
Church, A.T. (2001). Personality measurement in cross-cultural
perspective. Journal of Personality, 69, 979-1006.
McCrae, R.R. (2001). Trait psychology and culture: Exploring
intercultural comparisons. Journal of Personality, 69, 819-846.
Similarity across ages
Goldberg, L.R. (2001). Analyses of Digman's child-personality data:
Derivation of Big-Five Factor scores from each of six samples. Journal of
Personality, 69, 709-743.
Relations to important outcomes
Miller, J.D. & Lynam, D.R. (2001). Structural models of personality and
their relation to antisocial behavior: A meta-analytic review. Criminology, 39,
765-792.
Hoyle, R., Fejfar, M., & Miller, J.D. (2000). Personality and sexual risk
taking: A quantitative review. Journal of Personality, 68, 1203-1231.
Flory, K., Lynam, D.R., Milich, R., Leukefeld, C., & Clayton, R. (2002).
Personality correlates of substance use, antisocial behavior, and
internalizing problems among young adults. Experimental and Clinical
Psychopharmacology, 10, 425-434.
FFM: Cross Informant
Peer/Peer Peer/Self
Spouse/Self
Neuroticism
.43
.36
.60
Extraversion
.42
.41
.73
Openness
.45
.53
.65
Agreeableness
.49
.41
.62
Conscientiousness
.22
.40
.34
FFM: Stability
FFM: In Children
“In each of six samples of elementary-school children, varying
in size from 100 to 885, it has proved possible to derive BigFive factors based on childhood personalities as assessed by
classroom teachers. Moreover, the present findings suggest
that there are no broad factors beyond these five” (Goldberg,
2001).
FFM: In Children
FFM: In Children
FFM: Cross Model
“Taken together, these results suggest that the Big Three
and Big Five models define a common ‘Big Four’ space in
which (a) two traits are equivalent (neuroticism and
extraversion), (b) the third Big Three dimension
represents some combination of two Big Five factors
(conscientiousness and agreeableness), and (c) the final
Big Five trait (imagination or openness) is excluded. The
points of disagreement are not trivial, but neither are they
substantial enough to obscure the clear and important
similarities between these models” (Watson, Clark, &
Harkness, 1994)
FFM: Cross Cultural
How well do the dimensions assessed by imported measures
replicate across cultures? The answer to this question is “quite
well,” with some cautions.
Can imported measures predict relevant criteria across cultures? The
answer is “yes.”
Taxonomic studies of trait lexicons in various languages (see Saucier &
Goldberg, 2001) provide one source of indigenous measures, and the
frequent emergence of Big-Five-like dimensions in these studies is one of
the best sources of support for the universality of the Five-Factor Model.
Despite the importance of determining whether unique personality
dimensions exist in different cultures, there is presently little basis for
concluding that such dimensions will be readily identified. Indeed, BigFive-like dimensions appear to be ubiquitous even in relatively
indigenous lexical and inventory measures (Katigbak, Church, GuazonLapeña, Carlota, & del Pilar, in press).
Church, 2001
FFM: Cross Cultural
 Etic:

imported measures (translations)
Western framework is tried out in a new
culture to see how it fits
 Emic:

indigenous procedures
No constraints imposed
FFM: Cross Cultural
Cross-cultural Studies

Lexical studies conducted in Czech, Dutch, French, German,
Hungarian, Italian, Korean, and Polish.

Above studies find support for 4 of Big 5 factors (less for
Openness/Intellect)

Hungarian & Italian reveal a honesty factor (not Intellect)

Most of the other languages reveal a 6 factor solution
1.
Extraversion
2.
Conscientiousness
3.
Agreeableness (with anger going with low A rather than on
emotional stability)
4.
Emotional Stability
5.
Intellect – but heavily emphasizes unconventionality
6.
Honesty/Humility – sincere, fair, unassuming vs. sly, deceitful,
and pretentious
Ashton, Kibeom, & Goldberg
(2004) JPSP
 Six
factors have emerged in diverse set of
languages
 But has not previously been found in
English language studies
 Could be explained by adjective clustering
or adjective selection in previous studies

Needed to reduce total number of adjectives
in order to make a list manageable for
research participants
 1710
adjectives
 Interested in looking at 5 and 6 factor
solutions
 310 participants



187 American
123 Australian
Provided 1 -9 Likert self-ratings on all 1710
adjectives, working only an hour at a time
5
factor solution resembled Big Five
structure
 6 factor solution included Honesty/Humility
factor observed in other languages. 6
factor solution produced an especially
clear 5th factor: Intellect, Imagination, and
Unconventionality
 Still not sure what to call the 5th factor
 7th factor is religiosity
FFM: Cross Cultural
FFM: Cross Cultural
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