Personality Traits Essay

2392 Words Jan 13th, 2014 10 Pages
In psychology, personality traits could be explained from many aspects, and one of them describes personality traits as categorizations of people’s particular characteristics (Burger, 1997) while others hold opposite ideas that personalities are more unique and different for each individual depending on his or her peculiar life experience. The former idea relates itself to nomothetic approach, which is a quantitative approach that studies personalities that people share in common to find out a general law that applies to everyone. The nomothetic approach suggests that people show universal traits and that personality traits are consistent within humans. Gordan Allport first brought up this approach to understand personality in 1930s, and …show more content…
And because of the subjectivity of the nature of idiographic approach, it is not very reliable. As a summary, it can be seen that idiographic approach is not the most effective way to understand individual’s personality in every case.
One of the most famous practices of the nomothetic approach to personality is the Big Five model of personality. The Big Five personality model has drawn people’s attention to individual differences in human personality over the past twenty-five year (John & Srivastava, 1999; Wiggins & Trapnell, 1997), and it helps to understand other personalities in a standard framework. The Big Five model is derived from empirical practice and it consists of five factors (1) Extraversion/Positive Emotionality, (2) Agreeableness, (3) Conscientiousness, (4) Emotional Stability versus Neuroticism, and (5) Openness/Intellect (Costa and McGrea, 1992), In this essay several examples of how the Big Five model indicates people’s behaviour are illustrated to analyze if the nomothetic approach is the most effective way to understand personality.
A recently conducted study has revealed the relation between the Big Five model of personality and dispositional optimism. Optimism is often interpreted as having positive expectations about upcoming

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