The 1968 book personality and assessment was written by
Whole Trait TheoryPersonality Assessment via Questionnaires pp Cite as. The book Personality and Assessment by Walter Mischel was very influential in the development of personality research. Whereas several authors had previously studied the situational specificity of behavior and the interaction of persons and situations e. In his opinion, the consistency of individual behavior assumed by lay persons is illusory; our concepts are biased in this respect. Mischel , however, did not only criticize trait theories about personality structure. Accordingly, the basis for trait-based psychodiagnostics also seemed to be impaired.
UQx PSYC1030.1x 6-5-1 Personality assessment: Early attempts
12.1 Personality and Behaviour: Approaches and Measurement
Personality traits imply consistency and stability—someone who scores high on a specific trait like Extraversion is expected to be sociable in different situations and over time. Thus, trait psychology rests on the idea that people differ from one another in terms of where they stand on a set of basic trait dimensions that persist over time and across situations. The most widely used system of traits is called the Five-Factor Model. Each of the major traits from the Big Five can be divided into facets to give a more fine-grained analysis of someone's personality. In addition, some trait theorists argue that there are other traits that cannot be completely captured by the Five-Factor Model. Critics of the trait concept argue that people do not act consistently from one situation to the next and that people are very influenced by situational forces.
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Personality researchers should modify models of traits to include mechanisms of differential reaction to situations. Whole Trait Theory does so via five main points. First, the descriptive side of traits should be conceptualized as density distributions of states. Second, it is important to provide an explanatory account of the Big 5 traits. Third, adding an explanatory account to the Big 5 creates two parts to traits, an explanatory part and a descriptive part, and these two parts should be recognized as separate entities that are joined into whole traits. Fourth, Whole Trait Theory proposes that the explanatory side of traits consists of social-cognitive mechanisms. Fifth, social-cognitive mechanisms that produce Big-5 states should be identified.
The ability of personality traits to predict important life outcomes has traditionally been questioned because of the putative small effects of personality. In this article, we compare the predictive validity of personality traits with that of socioeconomic status SES and cognitive ability to test the relative contribution of personality traits to predictions of three critical outcomes: mortality, divorce, and occupational attainment. Only evidence from prospective longitudinal studies was considered. In addition, an attempt was made to limit the review to studies that controlled for important background factors. Results showed that the magnitude of the effects of personality traits on mortality, divorce, and occupational attainment was indistinguishable from the effects of SES and cognitive ability on these outcomes. These results demonstrate the influence of personality traits on important life outcomes, highlight the need to more routinely incorporate measures of personality into quality of life surveys, and encourage further research about the developmental origins of personality traits and the processes by which these traits influence diverse life outcomes. However, just because a field of inquiry is vibrant does not mean it is practical or useful—one would need to show that personality traits predict important life outcomes, such as health and longevity, marital success, and educational and occupational attainment.