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Reflective Essay

1564 words - 7 pages


“Biological theories of major personality traits have been highly speculative with at least as much disconfirming evidence as confirming”

The first who attempt to describe personality traits was the ancient Greek philosopher- Aristotle, he identified three personality traits such as, modesty, bravery and vanity. He was followed by Hippocrates who provided the idea that physical illness it is caused by the balance of bodily fluids; such as blood, black bile, phlegm and yellow bile. He argued that if a person had an excess of black bile than that person would have a melancholic temperament; underlined by the feeling of depressed mood. Those with phlegmatic ...view middle of the document...

Eysenck's goals were to identify the main dimensions of personality, devise means of measuring them and test them using experimental, quantitative procedures. He defined personality as being the way that an individual's character, temperament, intelligence, physique and nervous system are organised. Traits are the relatively stable, long-lasting characteristics of the individual.
Eysenck developed a hierarchical model of personality types. All the bottom level are specific behavioural responses called habitual responses. These come together to make up personality types. Using factor analysis, Eysenck identified three types or supertraits that he hypothesised made up the basic structure of personality. He developed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to measure these three types and their underlying traits.
Eysenck claimed that about two-thirds of the variance in personality development can be attributed to biological factors. Environment influences how traits are expressed, but Eysenck argues that biology has imposed limits on how much individual personality can change.
There is a good support for neuroticism and extraversion, including cross-cultural developmental and longitudinal stability data. Psychoticism is the least reliable dimension.
Eysenck provided not merely a description of personality structure, but also an explanation of what causes differences in personality with his genetic studies and his biological theory. His work has stimulated an enormous amount of research.
There is a growing consensus that five super traits make up the basic structure of personality while there are arguments about the names accorded to these factors. Those chosen by Costa and McCrae are the most popular. The big five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, this is known as acronym as OCEAN. There are several sources of evidence under pinning the big five structures of personality. The first of this uses the lexical approach to uncover the structures. The second approach uses the factor analysis of personality questionnaires. The big five model is hierarchical similar in concept to Eysenck's model. Each of the big five factors consists of six faced or subordinate traits. Costa and McCrae's NEO-PI-R measures both the subordinate traits and the supertraits. The lack of underpinning theory is problematic for some psychologists. This trait approach is data driven not theoretical driven although theoretical support is now developing.
William Sheldon outlined a description of personality, called somatypes, based on physique and temperament. He described three basic types of physique – endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy – and demonstrated that each body type was associated with a particular temperament.
The lexical hypothesis was first put forth by Sir Francis Galton. It suggests that it is the important individual differences between people that come to be encoded as single word terms. The...

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