Trait Approach To Personality

The Trait Approach
Another common way to study personality is through the lens of the trait approach. The trait approach focuses on the measurement of individual differences of both personality and behavior within each person (Funder, 2013). This approach attempts to assess how people differ, and how each individual is unique. To measure this, researchers often use personality assessments in order to understand what traits are common within a person, and how those traits, or absence of such traits, impact that person’s behavior. A popular personality assessment used is the “Big Five”, which are factor analytically derived dimensions of personality (Funder, 2013). The “Big Five” focuses on five main factors of personality: conscientiousness,
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Those who score higher in this category are more likely to want to try and please others; they often carry labels such as “conformity, friendly compliance, [and] likeability” (Funder, 2013). Women are typically more likely to score higher in this category than men, and those who score higher are also more likely to be trusting of others, and more likely to overall agree with others (Funder, 2013). Arguably, Jane falls somewhere in the middle of the scale in agreeableness; she is likely to conform in order to fit in, and is quick to trust individuals in hopes of forming meaningful relationships. However, those who score higher in agreeableness are more likely to have high satisfaction in peer and romantic relationships (Funder, 2013). These likelihoods do not fit Jane, as evident through her constant roommate issues, and romantic problems - which may stem back from her high attachment tendencies- which would mean she would be less likely to be satisfied with these relationships. Still, Jane is likely to generally agree with the majority, and attempt to please many, which is why she may be more likely to score somewhere in the …show more content…
By only observing Jane rather than interacting with her, and informing her of the purpose of this study, it is impossible to know for sure what Jane’s thoughts our feelings are. While I can make assumptions due to her behavior, I ultimately do not know for a fact how Jane is feeling unconsciously. Furthermore, with the exception of neuroticism, Jane would not be likely to score either extremely high or extremely low in any of the “Big Five” categories. While her personality fit well with a high score in neuroticism, she would be likely to score relatively average in the other categories. Even in conscientiousness, while she showed signs of scoring low, it still is not necessarily likely she would extremely low as other personalities would. Ultimately, I preferred the psychoanalytic approach to studying Jane. While this approach may require more inferencing, and difficulty to have exact answers, it gave a relatively large overview of Jane’s personality. This approach includes possible explanations for how Jane may act, including why she may use defense mechanisms, or why her she has more of an anxious attachment to others. The psychoanalytic approach also explains how some actions of individuals may be done unconsciously, meaning that that individual is unaware of how, or why, they are acting the way they do. This type of explanation was beneficial to this case study because, through

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