Gordon Allport came up with his 18,000 traits based on their importance in describing personality. Utilizing Allport’s research, Cattell formulated a questionnaire in which people rated themselves on several traits that best described them. This was called “factor analysis.” Another trait theorist, Hans Eysenck posited that a person can be described according to two sets of dimensions: introversion extroversion and emotionality stability. Finally, Costa and McCrae were dissatisfied with both Cattell and Eysenck whose traits were too many and too few respectively. Their contribution to the trait theory was the Big Five. They used factor analysis to formulate five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
- What is the main idea behind each of these four theories?
- How do trait theories differ from the theories studied last week?
- What is a major disadvantage of trait theories?
- Which theory takes into account external circumstances in predicting behavior?