The Essential Trait Approach

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What is the essential trait approach?
It attempts to reduce large numbers of traits down to only those few that are essential to understanding personality.
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What is factor analysis?
A statistical method that allows a large amount of data to be reduced to a few important factors (traits).
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How can factor analysis results differ?
By whether you choose how many factors you want or by letting it tell you how many factors there are.
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What is the process of factor analysis?
Measure large number of pps using pre-selected items; correlate scores with each other; determine no. of factors needed; decide and label each factor; standardise the measure by obtaining norms.
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What is secondary analysis?
Organising correlations between factors to reduce the number of traits. Used by Eysenck to form three super-traits.
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What are some of the strengths of psychometrics?
Objective/ scientific; easy to administer; can quickly gather quantitative data.
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Why do we still not know what/ how many traits are essential?
The labelling of traits is highly subjective, such as in the case of neuroticism and emotional stability.
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What approach did Cattell use when identifying traits?
An inductive approach, with no specific guiding hypothesis. He did not choose how many traits he wanted to find.
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What are Cattell's source traits?
The underlying cause of overt behaviour and surface traits.
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What are Cattell's surface traits?
The overt behaviours that make up source traits..
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What are the 5 classifications of traits that Cattell used?
Environmental-mold traits; constitutional traits; ability traits; temperament traits; dynamic traits.
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What are some applications of the 16PF?
Research and clinical; vocational etc.
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What are some strengths of Cattell's work?
Large contribution to the field of psychology (factor analysis and computer tech); a lot of research supports Cattell's work.
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What are some weaknesses of Cattell's work?
His findings are hard to replicate; his 16 factors are not independent.
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What are some similarities of Cattell and Eysenck's work?
Emphasise the importance of genetic factors; used nomothetic approach; used factor analysis; primarily concerned with explaining the behvaiour of "normal" people.
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What are some differences between Cattell and Eysenck's work?
C used primary traits and E used supertraits; C was data driven, E was theory driven; C's factors can be correlated (oblique rotation), E's factors are independent (orthogonal rotation).
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What did Eysenck suggest determined supertraits?
Genetic elements. Recent research shows that they do play a part, but are not the only factor.
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What did Eysenck suggest causes introversion?
High levels of cortical arousal. They need less stimulating events in order to receive the same amount of arousal in the ARAS as extroverts, so seek out less stimulating activities.
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What did Eysenck suggest causes high levels of neuroticism?
Excessive activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which causes a greater reaction to threatening environments.
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How did Holeva & Tarrier (2001) show the link between PTSD and neuroticism?
They studied victims of road traffic accidents, and found that high levels of neuroticism (trait anxiety) increases the chance of PTSD.
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What are the biological mechanisms behind the link between PTSD and neuroticism, as highlighted by Ormel & Wohlfarth (1991)?
Those with lower arousal forget what happened, so are less affected by PTSD. The brain doesn't react fast enough in those with high arousal, so cannot protect itself.
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What do high scores on measures of psychoticism indicate?
Recklessness; disregard for conventions; inappropriate emotional expression; hostility; manipulative and impulsive behaviour.
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What behaviours has the EPQ helped to predict?
Extroverts are likely to become sexually active at a younger age and with more people; introverts tend to perform better academically; individuals with high E, P and N are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour.
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What behaviours have the big 5 been associated with, as found by Paunonen?
Extroverts tend to exercise more, drink more and are more honest; conscientious people get better grades and are more honest; open people are more likely to play an instrument; agreeable people smoke less.
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What job performance related behaviours are related to the big 5?
Extroverts predicted success in management and sales; openness predicts training proficiency; agreeableness and neuroticism predict group performance.
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What are some problems with the big 5?
Eastern societies use a different 5 traits; sex differences have been found.
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Card 2

Front

What is factor analysis?

Back

A statistical method that allows a large amount of data to be reduced to a few important factors (traits).

Card 3

Front

How can factor analysis results differ?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the process of factor analysis?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is secondary analysis?

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