The Trait Approach And The Five Factor Model Of Personality

712 Words 3 Pages
Trait theorists focus on the measurement of traits and believe that to better understand personality we should focus on an individual’s traits and characteristic behaviour(Saul Kassin,; 2003). Using the five-factor model of personality, trait theorists can develop different kinds of questionnaires, such as the NEO Personality Inventory, to measure a person’s personality traits (Costa, P.T. Jr. and McCrae, R.R, 1992). With this data, researchers can describe a person’s personality using the 5 global factors of the five-factor model. The five-factor model helps trait theorists identify characteristics that individuals possess and to the extent of which they are present (Matthews, Gerald; Deary, Ian J.; Whiteman, Martha C, 2003). Freuds psychodynamic …show more content…
This essay will examine Freuds psychodynamic approach and the five-factor model of personality, and determine which approaches provides a better understanding of personality.

The Five-Factor Model of Personality, also known by the acronym ‘OCEAN’, originated from Raymond Cattell’s 16-factor theory, but further expanded upon from decade long research on personality (Whiteman, Martha C, 2003). According to the five-factor model, an individual’s personality, using common language word descriptors, can be categorised using 5 broad dimensions. These five factors can be described as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. There exist facets for each of the global factors, for instance neuroticism is said to include anxious-calm; Impulsive-controlled; Vulnerable-secure. The Five-factor model, which tends to describe individual psychological differences and the functionality behind those differences, doesn’t really show the internal mental processes which make people behave a certain way.
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These unconscious motives can effectively alter a person’s personality or behaviour. When a person interacts with another individual or group, they are unknowingly motivated to behave like that individual, or groups behaviour to feel accepted. Freud calls this repression; for this instance, the person would be repressing their natural tendencies to align them with the norms of that group. Conversely, The Five factor model of personality suggests that a person’s behaviour would remain stabile across a wide range of situations, due to the stabilization and maturity of traits over time (Srivastava, S.; John, O. P.; Gosling, S. D.; Potter, J.; 2003). From this, you could argue that trait theories, such as the five-factor model, primarily focus on the consistency of an individual’s personality, whereas psychodynamic theory suggests a change in personality. The five-factor model focuses on the process behind behaviour specific traits. For example, proponents of the five-factor model study the link between agreeableness and academic performance (Poropat, A. E.; 2009). Freuds psychodynamic approach strongly focused on the importance of early childhood experiences, repression of thoughts, and the internalised conflict between states of the unconscious and conscious mind that operate our behaviour and emotions (Freud, S.; 1964). Thus, we can determine that the five-factor model focuses on

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