Personality and the Five Factor Theory

Topics: Personality psychology, Self-esteem, Locus of control Pages: 8 (2806 words) Published: February 27, 2008
PSYC Essay
To understand personality there are three main aspects that must be looked at: LArsen and Buss Definition of personality, The Six Domains of knowledge of personality, and Costa and McCrae's Five Factor Theory. In this essay I will first break down larsen and Buss definition and connect it to the domains, then connect the domains to the five factor thoery (FFT).

Larsen and Buss define personality as "the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relitivly enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the environment (including the intrapsychic, physical and social environment)." To fully understand this defintion, it is best to break it down into its individual parts, starting with the traits.

The concept of psychological traits looks at what makes individuals similar as well as different, and this is the core of the dispositional domain. Although I will get more into the specific traits when talking about the FFT, here I will look at how traits make us similar and different from each other at the same time.

Kluckhohn and Murray (1948) theorized that there are three main levels to personality analysis. The first is like all others, or human nature, traits that are shared by all humans, such as language skills. The second is like some others, or group differences. These are traits that cluster us into large groups, such as age or sex. Finall is the Like no others, or individual uniquness level. These traitsl look at how everyone is different, even indentical twins are going to have some differences.

This shows that we are all alike, yet different at the same time. It is our various combination of traits that make our personalities this way, making traits the core of personality.
The second part of the definitoin looks at the mechanisms or the processes of personality or information processing procedures. The key ingredients to these mechanisms are inputs, decision rules, and outputs (see fig 1.1). A more specific way to understand this is through the biological domain and the use of a theoretical bridge (fig 2). This shows how imputs react with our personality to form the output.

The next part to look at is, within the individual that are relativly enduring. I put unduring before organized because time nd the individual are more key concepts to the dispositional domain. This looks at how our traits remain relativly stable over time and thorough different situations. If a calm person gets angry they do not become an angry person because the anger is a state. If this continues over many situations, and becomes anger-prone, than it is now a trait.

The next part of the definition is Organized. This shows that traits and mechanisms are linked in a coherent -not random- fashion. This organization fits in well with the Intrapsychic domain and Maslows Hiearchy of needs (fig.3). The key concept from maslows heiarchy is that each bottom need must be fullfilled before the one above it. If we have a desire for intamacy (belongingness) and a desire for food (physiological) our desire for food will win, because it is more necassary to the bodys function.

Next is "influence". Personality traits and mechanisms influence how we act, veiw ourselves, think, and feel. This fits in well with the cognitive domain because it is focused inward on our self awareness.

Interactions (with the environment) is the next part of the definition. This can best be looked at through the social cultural domain because, unlike the inward focus of influence, envirronment (specifically our interactions with it) focuses outward. A core idea of this is how others influence the situations we select, evoke our emotions and how we manipulate others.

One thoery for selection is Attraction Similarity Theory, which states that people are attratcted to those with similar characteristics to themsleves, or, "birds of a feather flock together". This theory show that...
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