Trait And Type Theories of Personality PDF

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Difference Between Type And Trait Theories of Personality

Type Approach

According to Morgan and King, “ A type is simply a class of individuals said to share a common collection of characteristics.”

It means that people are classified into categories according to the characteristics they share in common.

For example, some people prominently show tendencies of being outgoing, happy-go-lucky nature, mixing with people, less task orientation etc.

These people are classified as extroverts. A number of thinkers have given their typological models to explain personality, some of which include (i) Hippocrate’s typology (ii) Kretchmer’s typology (iii) Sheldon’s typology.

Hippocrate’s Typology In 400 B.C.

Hippocrates attempted to explain personality in terms of body fluid or humors. He postulated that our body has four types of fluid; yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm.

Every person is characterised by the prominence of one type of fluid which determines the temperament of the person concerned.

Thus he classified people into four types which are given below: a) Choleric – people with a predominance of yellow bile are irritable, restless and hot-blooded.

b) Melancholic – people with high black bile are sad, depressed and devoid of hope in life c) Sanguinary – When blood content is high the person remains cheerful, active and he is optimistic in life.

d) Phlegmatic – the predominance of phlegm makes a person calm and quiet and usually their behaviour is marked by inactiveness.

Kretschmer’s Typology

Kretschmer was a German psychiatrist who on the basis of his observation of patients classified people into four types.

He used the physical constitution and temperament for this purpose The four types he talked about included: (i) Pyknik type (ii)Asthenic type (iii)Athletic type (iv) Dysplastic type.

Let us briefly study each of these types. Pyknic Type – Such people are short in height with heavily built body types.

They have short, thick neck. Temperament wise they exhibit characteristics of being social and cheerful. They are happy-go-lucky, they like to eat and sleep.

Kretschmer called them “cycloids” as they have a high probability of falling prey to the manic-depressive type of psychopathology.

Asthenic Type – Such persons are tall and thin with underdeveloped muscles. They are also underweight. They are irritable and shirk away from responsibility.

They have the habit of daydreaming and are lost in the world of fantasy. Temperament wise they are categorized as “schizoid” and may develop a disorder of schizophrenia.

Athletic Type – These are muscular types and have well-built muscles and are neither tall nor short.

They have stable and calm nature and are able to adjust themselves to changes in the environment.

Dyspalstic Type – This category includes people who do not exhibit any of the characteristics mentioned above but are mix of all three types.

Sheldon’s Typology

Sheldon on the basis of physical constitution categorised personality into somatotypes.

For this, he analysed nude photographs of 4000 students and classified their personalities into three basic types.

These three types are (i) Endomorphic (ii) Ectomorphic (iii) Mesomorphic. i) Endomorphy – Such persons are short and fatty with a round shape of the body.

Endomorhphic people are similar to the “pyknic” type mentioned by Kretschmer. They like to eat and drink and make merry.

They are gregarious by nature and have the leisurely attitude toward life. Temperament wise Sheldon termed them “viscerotonia.” ii) Mesomorphy – These people are muscular types.

Their muscles and bones are quite well developed and they are physically well shaped. These people generally are considered to be tough-minded, risk-taking, assertive and aggressive.

They like to boss over others. Sheldon called these personalities as “somatotonia” iii) Ectomorphy – Such people are tall but thin.

Sheldon called them “cerebrotonia”. These people like to remain away from people.

Jung’s Typology

Jung postulated personality theory based on psychological characteristics. He divided people into two broad types i.e. extroverts and introverts. Extroverts – Such people are socially oriented.

They like to mix up with people, are fun-loving, and are optimistic. They are realistic in their approach to life.

Often such people exhibit leadership qualities. Introverts – They are the opposite of extroverts. They do not like to mingle with people.

They have very few friends. They are self-centred and conservative. Such people are dogmatic in the sense that they follow the traditions and customs of society without ever giving thought to their justifiability.

Jung’s classification has been criticised on the ground that it is not possible to divide people into two watertight compartments because a significant number of people do not fall into either of the categories.

They exhibit characteristics of both the extrovert and introvert types. To compensate for this psychologists placed such persons into another category called ambiverts.

Spranger’s Typology

Spranger in his book “Types Of Man” described six types of man, taking into account their value torientation in life. Thus he had theoretical types, economic types, aestheic types, social types, political types and religious types.

Trait Theory of Personality PDF

Allport mentioned two types of traits; common traits and personal traits. Common Traits – are the traits found in the majority of persons living in a society or culture.

Thus people of a society or culture can be compared on that trait. For example. If X shows a trait of cooperativeness in his behaviours in various situations, and if similar behaviours are obtained in a large number of persons from that community or culture, this trait will be considered a common Trait.

Common traits thus are those which are reflected in the behaviour of most of the persons in a society or a community or culture.

Personal Traits – This refers to the unique characteristics of a person and not shared by other members of the society or community or culture.

Such a personal trait is not comparable with those of others in that culture.

These traits are inculcated by a person more in the process of socialisation and thus many of do’s and don’ts of the parents or caregivers become part of the personality and these traits are unique to this individual.

Another important aspect is that these traits are highly consistent and can be seen in almost all behaviours of this individual irrespective of the situation concerned.

To give an example, a trait of parsimony is something which an individual will show in almost every aspect of his behaviour whether he is at home or office or school or anywhere.

He will for example put off the lights to economise on electricity consumption whether at the office or at home.

Similarly, he would be very careful not to waste paper and will use it for rough work on one side page in the office as well as at home.

Allport further divided personal traits into three subcategories: a) cardinal dispositions, b) central dispositions, and c) secondary dispositions. a)

Cardinal dispositions: such traits have an overriding and overwhelming influence on the behaviour of a person in that they manifest themselves in all that a person does and guides the behaviour of that person.

For example, Mahatma Gandhi had a firm belief and conviction in peace and non-violence.

The message of peace and nonviolence were explicitly seen in whatever Mahatma Gandhi did in his life, whether at home or abroad. b)

Central dispositions: This is found in all persons and one can have 5 to 10 central dispositions. These are not equivalent to cardinal traits but one can assess the personality of an individual in terms of these traits.

These traits actually define the personality of a person. Let us take an example of a person who has the traits of honesty, punctuality, parsimony, cleanliness and generosity.

Such a person will be always on time to the office, and keep the scheduled meetings on time and never will waste anyone’s time, will be always straight forward and deal directly with his employer and employees, and would ensure that nothing is wasted and will make sure others do not waste anything and whenever someone comes for help would be generous enough to offer help and solve the problem.

c) Secondary dispositions: These traits of a person are less consistent, less explicit and less meaningful for the person and hence are called secondary traits.

These traits are of not much help in explaining the personality. For example, hairstyle, dressing sense, eating patterns or preferences etc.

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Type And Trait Theories of Personality PDF Free Download

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