Five factor model of personality. Refers to theories of Allport and Oddbert, McAdams, Eyesenck, Mischel, Block, Both Costa and McCrae, Goldberg and Saucier

Essay by walker1University, Bachelor'sA, March 1996

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The precise definition of personality has been a point of discussion amongst many different

theorists within many different disciplines since the beginning of civilisation. Personality can be

defined as 'the distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour that define

an individual's personal style and influence his or her interactions with the environment' (Atkinson,

Atkinson, Smith & Bem, 1993: 525). It can be proposed that personality psychology has two

different tasks. 'The first involves specifying the variables on which individuals differ from one

another. The second involves synthesising the psychological processes of human functioning into an

integrated account of the total person' (Atkinson et al., 1993: 532). There are many different theories

of personality and many different theorists. The purpose of this essay is to examine the trait approach,

specifically the five-factor model. Both the development and limitations of the Five-Factor model of

personality shall be discussed.

Trait theory is based on several assumptions.

The first assumption is that any difference

between people that is seen as significant will have a name. Secondly, these names, known as traits,

are conceived of as continuous dimensions. In general, trait theories assume that people vary

simultaneously on a number of personality factors. These traits are of both the conjunctive and

disjunctive form. Therefore, to understand a trait, it is necessary to understand what a particular trait

is and what type of behaviour is evidence of that trait. (Atkinson et al., 1993). Five factor theorists are

one set of trait theorists. The claim of five factor theorists is that behaviour can be best predicted and

explained by measurement of five dominant personality factors. The five factor theory is a fairly

recent proposal and has its basis in earlier work, which shall be discussed.

One of the statistical techniques most commonly used in the...