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51 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

Idiographic approach

Study a single person and see how that person is patterned, narrow our search to see how one person is different from all of the others.

Nomothetic approach

Developing a universal law to fit everyone and to determine their pattern that way.

Common Traits

Characteristics of people

Individual Traits

Also known as personal disposition, attributes of individual persons.

Cardinal Disposition

The most important attributes of a person, those that make them distinctly recognizable.

Central Disposition

Those distinguishing traits that determine how someone reacts in specific situations. Usually have 8 of these 4 morbid and 4 benign.

Secondary Disposition

These are minor individual traits. Preferences of food or dress are examples.

Factor analysis

A complicated statistical technique involving a matrix of correlations used to determine basic personality traits of an individual.


Life record. Information about health , school, police, etc...


Personality attributes, attitudes and interests usually determine via personality inventories.


Projection tests designed to see what meaning people may attach to meaningless scenarios (IE, Rorschach).


Multi-trait personality assessment used to measure people on many variables.


Longitudinal study about personality (IE collecting data through diary entries) then plotting it to see patterns, etc..FIGURE 9.2 is an example.

Surface traits

Observations that go together and are correlated. They are descriptive and will stem from a number of determinants and source traits.

Source traits

Correlated observations that can only be discovered by factor analysis of trait-like data, 16 of these traits have been discovered

Constitutional traits

Source traits that are genetic in origin coming from the internal

Environmental-mould traits

Source traits that come from environmental influences

Ability traits

These determine how well we care able to accomplish things (IE: Intelligence)

Fluid Intelligence

Our ability to problem solve, mostly independent of previous experiences

Crystallized intelligence

General ability learned largely through school, past applications of fluid intelligence and experiences.

Temperament traits

The basis of emotionality, determines your emotional range and levels of energy

Dynamic traits

Includes your attitudes, sentiments and ergs. Usually stems from a response to something.


Derived from sentiments, causes you to pay attention to categories of objects and respond in a certain way as a result. FIGURE 9.3 important

Specification Equation

Used to determine a response to a situation based off of specific traits and how strong it is. R is the response, S is the value and T is the trait.



Changeable and associated with anxiety disorder


Unchangeable and associated with hysteria


Stable, Strong emotions


Unstable weak emotions

4 Temperaments (Wundt)

Unstable (strong emotions), Stable (weak emotions), Unchangeable (slow to change) and Changeable (quick to change)

Neuroticism (Eysenck) 9.2

Includes anxious, guilt, depressed. low self esteem, irrational and moody/emotional

Extraversion (Eysenck) 9.2

Includes sociable, lively, active, assertive, carefree, dominant and venturesome

Psychoticism (Eysenck) 9.2

Includes aggressive, cold, egocentric, impersonal, impulsive, unemphatic and anti-social

Polygenic inheritance

When a number of small-effect genes combine, plus the environmental factors move to push someone into psychosis

Causes of personality types?

Learning (Pavlov, inhibition and excitation) and arousal (brain structures and processes)

Excitation (Table 9.1)

Person develops this slowly and at weak intensity is prone to be extroverts. While those who develop it quickly are introverts.

Inhibition (Table 9.1)

Those who are rapidly grow to a high level then dissipate slowly are extroverts while the opposite is introversion.


Involves the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS), the limbic system and the ascending afferent pathways. Figure 9.8-9.10

The big 5 traits

Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness.

Big 5 (N)

High = Worry, nervous, insecure and emotional

Low = Calm, relaxed, hardy and secure

Big 5 (E)

High = Active, sociable, optimistic and affectionate

Low = Reserved, aloof, quiet and task-oriented

Big 5 (O)

High = Curious, creative, original and imaginative

Low = Conventional, unanalytical and down to earth

Big 5 (A)

High = Soft-hearted, good-natured, trusting and helpful

Low = Rude, cynical, irritable, vengeful

Big 5 (C)

High = Reliable, organized, neat and hard-working

Low = Aimless, lazy, lax and weak-willed

Big 5 Figures

Table 9.2 and 9.3

Casual 5-factor model

Developed by McCrae and Costa Figure 9.11. takes into account character adaptions, objective biology, self-concept, external influences and dynamic processes to come up with basic tendencies.

Basic tendencies

Individual differences in traits that are elemental disposition in personality, trait development and experiences ranging from childhood to adulthood.

Characteristic adaptions

Adaptions of individuals to their environment, change and maladjustment.

Objective biography

The cumulative record of behavior containing every reaction and everything the person does


The conscious view of ones self and the perception of self consistent with your dominant traits

External influences

Interactions with the environment, interpretations, reciprocal influences, etc...

Dynamic processes

The cognitive and emotional activity linking the personality structures and influences of the person