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What are the main advantages and limitations of the trait and type approaches to the study of personality?

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  • Essay length: 1223 words
  • Submitted: 28/01/2005
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AS and A Level Political Philosophy

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What are the main advantages and limitations of the trait and type approaches to the study of personality?

Of the many personality theories which abound in psychology today, a large number makes use of the concept of traits and types. Thus, the trait and type are the two currently main approaches to the study of personality. A trait can be defined as, 'an individual characteristic in thought feeling and action, either inherited or acquired and refers to tendencies to act or react in certain ways' (Drever 1964). Type can be defined by a person who is considered as an example of a class or group of people, who have a same characteristic of personality.

Having discovered a lot of traits, and they can be placed in particular categories, motive, ability, temperament and stylistic traits. There are two widely recognized trait theories are that of Allport who considers traits to be different categories and Cattell who established a 16-personality factor test and identified source and surface traits.

In Allport's theory, traits are defined into three categories: cardinal traits, central traits and secondary traits. This interpretation emphasizes that all traits are interdependent sets of attributes which

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