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PSYCH405: Theories of Personality

Unit 4: The Trait Perspective   In the prior units, you have been exposed to theorists whose main concern was with the development of personality and therapeutic approaches aimed at changing maladaptive aspects of personality.  We will now transition to a different perspective of personality, one that talks very little of development or personality change and instead focuses on the identification of traits.  In this unit, you will first be introduced to trait theory and learn of its historical roots and the influential theorists who helped develop the trait perspective.  Next, you will learn about the five-factor model of personality, the most current and widely accepted trait perspective conceptualization of personality in psychology.  Finally, you will read empirical articles which demonstrate the continued scientific efforts to link traits to a variety of important outcomes.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 10 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 3 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the main concerns of trait theorists, the influential figures who helped develop this perspective, and the sequential development leading up to the current understanding of traits.
  • Define the main components of the five-factor model of personality.
  • Identify the theory, methodology, and main findings of the empirical journal articles, which provide applied examples of current research on traits.

  • Lecture: University of California, Berkeley: Professor Oliver John’s Monday 11/7: Kelly’s Cognitive Theory" and Wednesday 11/9: Kelly’s Cognitive Theory" The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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4.1 Introduction to Trait Theory   - Reading: AllPsych Online’s version of Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s Personality Theory: An Introduction: “Trait Theory” and Personality Project’s Dr. William Revelle’s “Taxonomies of Individual Differences” Links: AllPsych Online’s version of Dr. Christopher L. Heffner’s PersonalityTheory: An Introduction: "Chapter 7: Trait Theory" (HTML) and Personality Project’s Dr. William Revelle’s "Taxonomies of Individual Differences" (HTML)
 
Instructions: For the first reading, please read all sections in “Chapter 7: Trait Theory.” For the second reading, please read up until the bullet pointed sections.  These brief readings will help to introduce you to the history and current state of trait theory.  These readings will cover subunits 4.1.1-4.1.4, and you are also responsible for any readings specified within each subunit.
 
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4.1.1 What Is Trait Theory?   4.1.2 Gordon Allport: The Original Trait Theorist   4.1.3 Henry Murray’s Psychogenic Needs   4.1.4 Raymond B. Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors   - Reading: Dr. Scott Acton’s Great Ideas in Personality Website’s version of Dr. Heather M. Fehriinger’s "Contributions and Limitations of Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model" Link: Dr. Scott Acton’s Great Ideas in Personality Website’s version of Dr. Heather M. Fehriinger’s "Contributions and Limitations of Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of this article. This reading both provides information regarding Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor Model and provides critiques/comments of this theory. 
 
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4.1.5 Hans Eysenck’s Theory   - Reading: Dr. C. George Boeree’s Personality Theories: “Hans Eysenck” Link: Dr. C. George Boeree’s Personality Theories: "Hans Eysenck" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the sections entitled “Biography,” “Theory,” and “Discussion.”
           
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4.2 Big 5 Factors of Personality   - Reading: Berkeley Personality Lab’s Version of Dr. Oliver P. John, Dr. Laura P. Naumann, and Dr. Christopher J. Soto’s (2008) “Paradigm Shift to the Integrative Big Five Trait Taxonomy” Link: Berkeley Personality Lab’s Version of Dr. Oliver P. John, Dr. Laura P. Naumann, and Dr. Christopher J. Soto’s (2008) "Paradigm Shift to the Integrative Big Five Trait Taxonomy" (PDF)
           
Instructions: This reading will cover subunits 4.2.1-4.2.7.  Please click on “Download PDF” to get the PDF version of this chapter.  Read the entirety of this chapter to gain a better sense of issues related to the development of the taxonomic 5-factor personality model.  You may skim the sections entitled “Cross-Language and Cross-Cultural Studies,” “Defining the Big 5 across Studies: The Prototype Approach,” and “Measurement: Comparing Big 5 Instruments.” 
 
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4.2.1 The Lexical Approach and Discovery of the Big Five   4.2.2 Simple and Circumplex Approaches   4.2.3 The Big Five and Personality Questionnaires   4.2.4 Problems with the English Factor Labels   4.2.5 Critical Issues and Theoretical Perspectives   4.2.6 The Big Five and Personality Development   4.2.7 Theoretical Perspectives on the Big Five   4.3 Current Research on Trait Perspective   - Reading: University of Iowa’s Current Research in Social Psychology: Dr. Simon Moss and Ms. Sigmon Ngu’s “The Relationship between Personality and Leadership Preferences” and Blinn College: Dr. Michelle N. Shiota and Dr. Robert W. Levenson’s “Birds of a Feather Don’t Always Fly Farthest: Similarity in Big Five Personality Predicts More Negative Marital Satisfaction Trajectories in Long-Te Links: University of Iowa’s Current Research in Social Psychology: Dr. Simon Moss and Ms. Sigmon Ngu’s “The Relationship between Personality and Leadership Preferences” (PDF) and Blinn College: Dr. Michelle N. Shiota and Dr. Robert W. Levenson’s “Birds of a Feather Don’t Always Fly Farthest: Similarity in Big Five Personality Predicts More Negative Marital Satisfaction Trajectories in Long-Term Marriages" (PDF)
 
Instructions: For the first reading, please scroll down the webpage until you reach the hyperlink titled “Volume 11, No. 6.”  Then, click on this hyperlink, and read this entire empirical journal article as advised by the readings presented in section 1.2.  For the second reading, please scroll down and select the "Shiota and Levenson" link under "Psychology Articles."
 
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