Personality, Biological And Socio Cognitive Theories Essay

816 Words Oct 30th, 2014 4 Pages
Personality has been defined as a ‘specific pattern of behaviours that relates to a person’s interest, value and preferences and are relatively consistent across both space and time’ (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2011). The study of personality psychology frequently illuminates the importance of individual differences between human characteristics, within a society reliant on conformity and community. Compelling evidence for humans’ ostensibly social nature arises in the form of empathy which is said to be more evident in certain personalities than others (). Empathy is defined as a ‘sensitivity to and understanding of, the mental states of others’ (Holin, 1994, as cited in Smith, 2006, p. 3) and is considered an innate ability (Meltzoff, 2002) that can be developed (Prinz, 2011). This essay will outline the principles of personality theories such as trait theory, biological and socio-cognitive theories whilst critically evaluating whether individuals with certain traits or characteristics are more capable of empathy towards another human being. Personality disorders such as Psychosis and autism will be discussed in relation to their perceived level of empathy ability.

One of the main contributors to personality trait theories was Gordon Allport (1936) who established that 4000 words in the English language described different personality traits. His study categorised these words into three levels: Cardinal traits, central traits and secondary traits. Cattell (1946) followed this…

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