Trait Theories of Personality

Our personality encompasses all that we are. All our little quirks, characteristics, behaviours, and thoughts which make each one of us unique. Personality plays a huge part in individual differences research and over the years many different theories have emerged.

One of the sectors of these theories are trait theories. These are also known as psychometric theories due to their measurements of personality traits through psychometric tests. Trait theories argue that every individual has certain unique traits resulting from our genes which predispose us to act a certain way in a variety of situations. These are thought to be consistent across situations and time. There are lots of trait theories of personality but here are a few of the most influential:

Eysenck’s Personality Model

Eysenck conducted factor analyses on personality questionnaires and found three dimensions of personality:

  • Extraversion (extraversion/introversion)
  • Neuroticism (stable/unstable)
  • Psychoticism (added in 1966)

According to Eysenck, extraverts are sociable and impulsive; introverts are reserved and serious; neurotics are anxious and worrying; and stables are emotionally calm and unworried. Those which fall under psychoticism tend to be lacking in empathy and more aggressive.

He also related a person’s personality to the functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System, in that someone’s personality is dependent upon the balance between excitatory and inhibitory processes within the nervous system (explained in more detail as a biological model in further posts).

The measures of these personality dimensions have been developed through many different psychometric tests, but the most recent is the Revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-IR).

eysenck's neuroticism and extraversion model

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Introduction to the Blog

My name is Alice Allen. I am 20 years old, from the West Midlands, England. I am currently a third year undergraduate Psychology student at Manchester Metropolitan University. My interests lie in Cognitive Neuropsychology, as well as Clinical and Developmental Psychology and I hope to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist one day.

I am very new to the blogging sphere, and I wanted to become a part of it perhaps just like why anyone blogs – because they have something (or some things) to say and they want to be heard. Prominent American author and blogger Seth Godin is quoted as saying “I blog because I don’t really have a choice. The ideas in me insist on being shared, and this is the least painful way I can find to do it!” which sums up blogging perfectly. Or at least my reason to start.

Therefore, I wanted to create a Psychology blog. One that encompasses, well, all things Psychology (for instance, memory, intelligence, social influence, research designs…). I am relentlessly enthusiastic about Psychology, and what has been found in this domain is endlessly fascinating. This blog is here so I can share all this interesting research and more, to trade and share ideas about Psychology with the community. My other focus is to also help students who are looking for a career in psychology about what it means to be a student, useful techniques for exams and projects, as well as providing informative resources about career guidance.

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