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Video transcript

hi everyone welcome back we're going to be talking about the trait theory today so what better way to describe individual personalities than by using traits well the trait theory is a very straightforward approach to describe personality we do it every day it basically defines personality in terms of identifiable patterns of behavior so that is a key word there are patterns of behavior and I'll explain that in a little bit into a little bit more depth so it describes traits instead of explaining them as in many other personality theories so this theory uses description versus explanation versus other theories of personality tend to use explanation to describe patterns of behavior so what exactly is a trait now if someone asked you to describe your best friend what kind of things would you say maybe that your best friend was funny caring loyal even tempered well all of these words that I just called off represent traits a trait can be thought of as a relatively stable characteristic so that is another defining word it is a stable characteristic what do I mean by stable so it's a stable characteristic that causes individuals to consistently behave in certain ways so it has to be consistent because it's synonymous with stable so the combination and interaction of various traits forms a personality and that's what's unique to each individual no two people have the exact same personality we can even see that within our families even though we share many genes we all have different personalities because you all possess these different traits well let's get into what different theorists of the trait theory have to say in trying to describe traits so a little aside over here I always found this personality test to be so fascinating like the myers-briggs personality type test I don't know if you've taken it before but basically it gives you a set of four letters that categorizes you into one of sixteen personality types and then within each one of those personality types there is a set of traits and behaviors that you tend to dominate in your everyday life so anyways if you haven't checked those types of personality tests out I highly recommend it I know a lot of companies use them for employment and it's just a fun way to get to know yourself and your tendencies a little better I'm always curious so individual treat theories differ in terms of whether or not they believe that all individuals possess the same traits and I'll get into that in a little bit and you'll see why I say that so let's go through the first theorist his name was Gordon L poor so what Albert said is that all of us have different traits he didn't believe that all individuals have the same traits he said that they could differ amongst individuals and he actually came up with a list of 4500 different descriptive words to describe traits and that wasn't the original list apparently the original had over 10,000 that's crazy so anyways from those 4,500 he was able to come up with three basic categories of traits and the first one are our Cardinal traits the second one are our central traits and the last one are our secondary traits now of these three the Cardinal traits are most are the characteristics that direct most of a person's activities so these are the dominant traits the ones that lie in the Cardinal category for example one person may have a cardinal trait of selflessness or power motivation but Alpert says not all individuals have selflessness or power motivation so that's the key right there individuals have some subset of traits from a universal possibility of traits but not all individuals have the same traits we mix and match we all possess different ones now these Cardinal traits influence all of our behaviors including the central and the secondary traits or dispositions which influence behavior to a lesser degree so these are dominant and these are expressed at a lesser degree so an example of a central trait is honesty or sociability or shyness which are less dominant than these Cardinal traits and a secondary trait is something like a love for modern art or reluctance to eat meat and these are more preferences or attitudes alright let's go to the second theorist and his name was Raymond Cattell so now what Cattell did is that he proposed that we all have sixteen essential personality traits we all do he said that they represent the basic dimensions of personality and you turn this into the sixteen personality factor questionnaire or 16pf for short that was his contribution so he categorized all of our traits into sixteen personality traits that we all possess the third theorist was Hans I think and what I thinked in his theory is based on the assumption that we all have three major dimensions okay and these three major dimensions of personality encompass all traits that we all possess but the degrees to which we individually express them are different so this is different from Alport again Alpert said we have different unique subsets of traits eysenck is saying we all have these traits but we express them at different degrees so the three major dimensions of his theory the first is extraversion so you know what that is extraversion versus introversion and that is the degree of sociability the second is neuroticism and neuroticism is our emotional stability and the third is psychoticism make sure I'm spelling this right there we go psychoticism is the degree to which reality is distorted okay so I know I said Ising said that we all possess traits that line these three categories but we display them it or express them to different degrees well there's a little caveat here because I Singh said that we all have varying degrees of extraversion and neuroticism but not necessarily psychoticism all right moving on the last major theory trait is called the big five and the big five again is found in all people of all populations so the first major personality trait in the big five is openness let me do this in a different color so the first is openness and when I mean by openness is that we asked the question are you independent or are you conforming are you imaginative or are practical the second is conscientiousness that is a mouthful so in conscientiousness we're asking the questions are you careful or careless are you disciplined or impulsive are you organized or disorganized the third is extraversion in an extraversion we're asking the questions are you talking about are you fun-loving or sober the fourth is agreeableness and an agreeableness or asking the questions are you kind or are you cold are you appreciative or unfriendly and the last we've already seen from I sink and that is neuroticism so neuroticism we're asking the questions are you stable or tense calm or anxious secure or insecure so the best way I learned to memorize the big five is using the acronym ocean OC e a n Easy okay so could tell I think in the big five all over here use something called factor analysis to come up with this these categories of our traits so factor analysis is a statistical method that categorizes and determines or major categories of traits and Albert's theory did not use that he relied on different procedures to determine traits so basically factor analysis reduces the number of variables and detects structure in the relationships between variables and we do that because we want to classify variables so in the past probably at the time of Cattell and I think all of this was done out by hand all the possible combinations in determining the number of categories of traits was done by hand but now we have fancy computer software that can do all the math for us and it's what gives us these final sets of variables or classifications of personality traits