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The Trait Model Of Personality: Gordon Allport's Theory, Etc. (Essay Sample)



The Trait Model of Personality Student Name Course/Number Instructor Date Models of Personality Personality traits and stability involves the analysis of the fundamental blocks that promote a person’s personality as well as development. The character is the inherent characteristics that influence a person’s behavior, cognition, and emotions. Several benefits accrue from one’s understanding of the personality traits as well as their stability. For instance, there is predictability of a person’s reactions in various situations and ordeals. It also helps promote accuracy in determining what personality entails (Gallagher, Fleeson, & Hoyle, 2011) as well as establish a formable basis for trait development. The models or theories of nature tend to examine the behavior of a person by exploring their patterns. Essentially, four main theories explain the personality patterns in a person. The psychoanalytical theory basis their arguments on the wordings of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, who establish that human behavior results from their unconscious mind, which influences their decisions. The humanistic approach, developed by Abraham Maslow, basis its argument on the inherent desires and the need for satisfaction, terming them as the primary catalysts towards human behavior. The social cognitive theory holds that human behavior results from the interaction one have with the environment surrounding them. One develops behavior as they grow, where he or she chooses to follow the awarded actions and deter themselves from the punishable ones. The trait theory portrays numerous models that explore the different personality traits among individuals. As such, this study focuses on developing an in-depth analysis of the trait model of personality, its relationship to the psychodynamic model of nature, as well as an exploration of the five traits of character. Trait Model of Personality This approach of personality examines the differences between individuals. It assumes that there are distinct characteristics that differentiate one from others, and therefore, seeks to explore these characteristics (Mischel, 2013). It deals with ways in which one can describe others such as outgoing and generous. Notably, this notion holds that a person’s characteristic is intact regardless of the situation surrounding them. The trait approach of understanding personality basis its argument on the work of three scholars: Gordon Allport’s trait theory, Raymond Cattell's Sixteen-personality factor, and Hans Eysenck’s dimensions of personality. Gordon Allport’s theory According to Gordon Allport, a psychologist, a person’s personality is based on the distinct characteristics one holds, which influence their behavior and actions regardless of the situation. Raised in a family that held health and education high, Allport developed a desire to understand human motivation as well as their behavior (Ewen, 2013). His education and social life played essential roles in advancing his notion, where he established that one’s traits result from their childhood experiences, the current situations, and an interaction between the two environments. He classified the personality traits into three: cardinal, central, as well as secondary characteristics. Cardinal traits These are personality characteristics that manifest themselves immensely in a person. They are responsible for the significant decisions one makes, including feelings and thoughts. They are pervasive rare and dictate the defining trait in a person, and in some situations, they may control one’s life. Some defining cardinal traits are selflessness and ruthlessness. Central traits Central traits are those that form grounds for a person’s characteristic and are less dominating compared to the cardinal characteristics. The present themselves, in a person, on a daily basis. Some central traits include kind, honest, and sincere. Secondary traits These traits are those that reveal themselves in a specific situation, especially when triggered. They can display a different personality from one inherent in a person. Some triggers of the secondary traits can be an impromptu test or an attack. Trait model vs. Psychodynamic model The trait and psychodynamic theories of personality have similarities as well as differences. Focusing on the trait model of character by Gordon Allport and the psychodynamic approach by Sigmund Freud, the two explore factors or situations that influence human behavior and actions. The two explore personality based on its development and generation of human behavior (Ewen & Ewen, 2014). They depict that a person’s actions are influenced by different situations, thus making them different in several cases. However, there are some differences between the two approaches. While Allport views personality because of internal characteristics in individuals, Sigmund perceives that it is based on the demands of the unconscious mind. Allport explores the character in three dimensions: cardinal, central, and secondary, whereas Freud basis his argument on the structures of the mind: Id, ego, and the superego. Further, Allport examines an individual’s personality based on personal disposition, where he evaluates the unique traits each possesses. Conversely, psychodynamic analysis the personality on group behavior and comparing different actions in a person (Weiner et al., 2012). Trait theory argues that a person’s trait remains consistent regardless of circumstances whereas psychodynamic theory posits that actions depend on a person’s belief and emotions. The Big Five Personality Traits These are the fundamental dimensions of personality and account for the differences observed in individuals. J M Digman developed the concept and advanced by numerous scholars including Goldberg. According to Cobb-Clark and Schurer (2012), the prominent five personality traits include openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, and neuroticism. Openness This trait refers to individuals who are willing to learn new things in their surroundings. It allows an individual to have the desire to explore new experiences, out of their comfort zone. Some characteristics include imagination and insight, which influence one’s interests. Those possessing a high degree of openness are mostly creative, adventurous, focused, and widely imaginative, whereas those have a low possession of this trait are static, resist new ideologies, and less imaginative. Conscientiousness This trait entails the ability of a person to control impulses and act according to the set norms and customs. People possessing this trait are highly dependable, well organized, and can delay gratification. Common characteristics in this factor include persistence, ambition, self-disciplined, reliable, energetic, hardworking, and persevering. One possessing these traits has a high aptitude for excelling in their tasks and goals while having a low conscientiousness is likely to be a procrastinator, impulsive, and impetuous. Agreeableness This trait explores a person’s ability to get along with others. Some attributes of this trait include altruism, kindness, and affection. Agreeableness in individuals makes people cooperative, friendly, and compassionat...
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