Trait Theory of Personality (Allport and Cattell’s Theory)

What is the Trait Theory of Personality?

The trait is consistent personality characteristics and behavior displayed in different situations. Trait theory is a model of personality that seeks to identify the basic traits necessary to describe personality.

The trait theories of personality can be understood as,

Allport Trait Theory of Personality

There are three fundamental categories of the trait in Allport theory, cardinal, central and secondary.

Cardinal Trait: A cardinal trait may be a single characteristic that leads most of the person’s actions. A really selfless woman may direct all her energy toward humanitarians. People with such personalities are known for these traits and their names are associated with these. Cardinal traits are those that dominate an individual’s personality to the point that the individual becomes known for them. Allport suggested that cardinal traits are rare and have a tendency to develop over the years. Teresa is strongly related to goodness and charity. Today, her name is virtually synonymous with those traits.

Central Trait: Central traits such as honesty and sociability, are an individual’s major characteristics. Allport believes that central traits are much more common and serve as the basic building blocks of most people’s personalities. If you think of the major terms you might use to describe your overall character, then those are probably your central traits. You would possibly express yourself as smart, kind, and outgoing. These are your central traits. Allport accepted that the majority of people have about five to 10 central traits which most of the people contain many of those traits to a particular degree. a couple of samples of central traits involve honesty, friendliness, generosity, anxiety, and diligence.

Secondary Trait: Secondary traits have less influential characteristics than cardinal and cental traits which influence fewer situations, for example, reluctance to use modern things. This is the third category of traits that Allport outlined. Such personality traits point to manifest themselves in certain states. For example, you might normally be an easy-going person, but you might become short-tempered when you find yourself under a lot of pressure. Such traits often reveal themselves only in certain situations. A usually cool, raised person, might become very worried when faced with talking in public.

Raymond Cattell’s Trait Theory of Personality

Cattell’s trait theory has been built around the use of factor analysis, a mathematical technique devised by Charles Spearman. With the utilization of correlational analysis, Cattell reviewed and categorized an outsized number of traits, seeking the foremost primary and useful ones, and developed a system of classifying them. This brought down Allport’s initial list of over 4000 words to 171 different traits.

He further identified the closely related terms and the final list was prepared of 16 basic source traits. According to him, these are the basis of all human personalities. Cattell discovered some traits are surface traits, easily visible to any observer, and others are source traits, the underlying structures responsible for the surface traits.

Cattell’s 16 Personality Traits/Factors

  • Reserved vs. Outgoing
  • Less Intelligent vs. More Intelligent
  • Affected by Feelings vs. Emotionally Stable
  • Submissive vs. Dominant
  • Serious vs. Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Expedient vs. Conscientious
  • Timid vs. Venturesome
  • Tough-Mind vs. Sensitive
  • Trusting vs. Suspicious
  • Practical vs. Imaginative
  • Forthright vs. Shrewd
  • Self-Assured vs. Apprehensive
  • Conservative vs. Experimenting
  • Group Dependent vs. Self Sufficient
  • Uncontrolled vs. Controlled
  • Relaxed vs. Tense

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: