There are four different approaches to understand personality. They are psychoanalytic and pschodynamic, phenomenological, learning and trait approaches. This paper concentrates on the trait approach.
The working definition of personality means characteristic of the person that account for consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. However, for the trait theorists, their definitions are quite unique. Gordon Allport states that the most important structures of personality are those that permit the description of the person in terms of individual characteristics. Thus, the basic unit of personality is personal dispositions, which he called ¡ ¥trait ¡ ¦ and his personality was utilized the concept of personal dispositions.
Raymond B. Cattell defined personality as ¡ ¥that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situations ¡ ¦. This prediction can be measured and described by the source traits.
Hans J. Eysenck states that behavior can be considered in terms of specific responses that some of them are linked together and form more general habits. Groups of habits occur together to form traits. He defined traits as ¡ ¥important semi-permanent personality disposition ¡ ¦ (1981,p.3).
The basic assumption of the trait point of view is that people possess broad predisposition, called traits, to respond in particular ways. In order words, people may be described in terms of likelihood of their behaving, feeling, or thinking in a particular way. For example, the likelihood of their acting outgoing and friendly or feeling nervous and worried.
Trait is a basic unit of personality and is biological basis. Human behavior and personality can be organized into a hierarchy that is shown in the works of Hans Eysenck. The concept of trait assumes that behavior follow some patterns, regularity overtime and across situations.
Trait approach to understand personality development