Personality Traits and Characteristics

Personality traits mean the basic human instincts or properties, which give every human a unique identity. These attempts to isolate and describe the basic properties of the individual that direct behavior.

Human being posses different types of characteristics. Characteristics are different due to their perception and personality. The popular characteristics are shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy ambitious, loyal and timid etc.

There are fundamentally two major theories-classical and modern which deal with personality traits and which are described below.

1. Classical Theory of Personality Trait: This theory is about 2,000 years old and it deals with emotional equilibrium of a people. Emotional equilibrium was then though to be dependent on the appropriate balance among four fluids within the body. Those four fluids are following:
    • Sanguine (bold)
    • Choleric (yellow bile)
    • Melancholic (black bile)
    • Phlegmatic (phlegm)
Personality was dependent on whichever fluid was dominant. For example, individuals with an excess of blood had a sanguine personality.

2. Modern Theory: Eysenck modernized the classic biochemical theories. The individual temperaments was described as:
  • Exroverion: >> Introversion 
  • Neuroticism: >> Stability
According to Eysenck, Personality is rooted in biology. It is not inherited directed i.e. rather an individual inhabits a particular type of nervous system, which predisposes him to develop in a particular direction. The final shape of an individual's personality is determined by the interaction between his biological disposition and the environmental influences that he encounters in life.

Classification of Personality Traits

Personality traits are the enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behavior. Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal and timid. There is no agreement even among psychologists to describe personality in terms of certain standard ‘traits’. Some of the popular personality traits can be classified and explain on the basis of different psychologist views as follows:

1. Cattel’s View of Personality Traits

R. B. Cattel has identified 171 personality traits in his study initially. But due to the long list of personality traits, they were superficial as well as lacking in descriptive power, he reduced these set of traits to sixteen set of traits. These sixteen traits have been found to be generally steady and have constant source of behavior, allowing prediction of an individual’s behavior in specific situations by weighing the characteristics for their situational relevance.

Personality Traits
S. No.
Dimensions of Personality
1. Reserved vs. Outgoing
2. Less intelligent vs. More intelligent
Emotional stabilities
3. Affected by feelings vs. Emotionally stable
4. Submissive vs. Dominant
5. Serious vs. Happy-go-lucky
Rule Consciousness
6. Expedient vs. Conscientious
Social Boldness
7. Timid vs. Venturesome
8. Tough-minded vs. Sensitive
9. Trusting vs. Suspicious
10. Practical vs. Imaginative
11. Forthright vs. shrewd
12. Self-assured vs. apprehensive
Openness to change
13. Conservative vs. Experimenting
14. Group-dependent vs. self-sufficient
15. Uncontrolled vs. controlled
16. Relaxed vs. Tense

Instead of looking at specific characteristics, we can group these qualities that go together into a single category. For example, ambition and aggression tend to be highly correlated. Efforts to reduce the number of traits into common groups tend to isolate introversion-extroversion and something approximating high anxiety. Extroversion would be tense, excitable, unstable, warm, sociable and dependent.

2. Hall and Lindzey’s Personality Traits 

According to the Hall, C. S. and Lindzey, G (1957), personality can be classified into five categories. Because of having five factors, popularly called as ‘Big Five Personality Traits’ these five basic dimensions underline all others and cover most of the significant variation in personality.

The big Five Personality Dimensions
Categorized Forms of Personality Traits
What Does It Affects
Talkative, Assertive, Sociable and Outgoing
-          Higher job and life satisfaction
-          Lower stress level
Good-natured, cooperative, Warm, Caring and Trusting
-          Higher performance.
-          Enhanced leadership.
-          Higher job and life satisfaction.
Self-disciplined, hard-working organized, Dependable and Persistent
-          Training performance.
-          Enhanced leadership
-          More adaptable to change.
Emotional stability
Calm, Happy, Secure and Poised
-          Higher performance.
-          Lower levels of deviant behavior.
Openness to experience
Creative, Curious, Intellectual, Imaginative and Artistically Sensitive.
-          Higher performance.
-          Enhanced leadership.
-          Greater longevity.

a. Extroversion 
It refers to one’s comfort with relationship. In other words, it is a personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone is sociable, talkative and assertive. On the basis of the individual behavior, people can be classified as extroverts (talkative, sociable, assertive, outgoing and interactive with others) and introverts (reserved quiet, timid, sensitive to feeling and work independently). 

b. Agreeableness 
It refers to one’s inclination to defer to others. In other words, it is a personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone is good natured, cooperative, and trusting. On the basis of individual behavior, people can be classified as agreeable (good-natured, cooperative and antagonistic). 

c. Consciousness 
It refers to one’s reliability, regarding responsibility. In other words, it is a personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone I responsible, dependable, persistent and achievement oriented. On the basis of individual behavior, people can be classified as conscientious persons (responsible, dependable, persistent, organized, careful and self-disciplined) and non-conscientious persons (irresponsible, unreliable, and disorganized). 

d. Emotional Stability 
It refers to one’s ability to withstand stress. In other words, it is a personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone is calm enthusiastic and secure. On the basis of individual behavior, people can be classified as emotionally stable (calm, secure, positive, self-confident and relaxed) and emotionally unstable (tensed, nervous, depressed, negative and insecure). 

e. Openness to Experience 
It refers to one’s range of interests and fascination with novelty. In other words, it is a personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone is imaginative, intellectual and artistically sensitive. On the basis of individual behavior, people can be classified as open-minded (imaginative, creative, curious and sensitive) and closed-minded (introverts, less open to new ideas and resist to change).

3. Myers – Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 

Carl Jug is the most be known for the theory behind the well-known instrument MBTI. Based on his basic elements of human psyche, a mother-daughter team developed a 100 items instrument, popularly called MBTI which stands for Myers – Briggs Type Indicator. MBTI is the most widely used instrument for personality analysis. Sixteen personality types are generated by the instrument (a person can be of any one type). These 16 types are based on a combination of four basic elements of psyche.

Collecting Information
Sensing (S)
Intuiting (N)
-          Practical, Concrete, Would work with known facts than look for possibilities and relationship.
-          Theoretical, Abstract: Would look for possibilities and relationships than work with known facts.
Thinking (T)
Feeling (F)
-          Analytical (Had) Relies more on interpersonal analysis and logic than on personal values.
-          Subjective (Heart) Relies more on personal values than on impersonal analysis and logic.
Understanding the world
Perceiving (P)
-          Structured, Organized: Likes a planned and orderly way of life rather than a flexible, spontaneous way.
-          Flexible, Spontaneous: Likes a flexible, spontaneous way rather than a planned and orderly way of life.

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