Allport came up with his 18,000 traits based on their importance in
describing personality. Utilizing Allport’s research, Cattell formulated
a questionnaire in which people rated themselves on several traits that
best described them. This was called “factor analysis.” Another trait
theorist, Hans Eysenck posited that a person can be described according
to two sets of dimensions: introversion- extroversion and emotionality-
stability. Finally, Costa and McCrae were dissatisfied with both Cattell
and Eysenck whose traits were too many and too few respectively. Their
contribution to the trait theory was the Big Five. They used factor
analysis to formulate five traits: openness, conscientiousness,
extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
- What is the main idea behind each of these four theories?
- How do trait theories differ from the theories studied last week?
- What is a major disadvantage of trait theories?
- Which theory takes into account external circumstances in predicting behavior?