Topic 4: Trait-Dispositional Approach {by 10/21}

There are two readings due this week – Text Chapters 3 and 4.  Address the following two discussion points:  (1) What are some benefits to understanding human behavior through the trait approach?  What are some disadvantages?  (2) What is interactionism within the context of “if… then… situation-behavior patterns?”  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 10/21. Have your two replies no later than 10/23. *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mark Joyce
    Oct 19, 2015 @ 22:42:29

    The trait-dispositional approach focuses on identifying, measuring, and classifying the differences between individuals. Using descriptive terms such as aggressive, introverted, extroverted, and many more, allow researchers to analyze individuals using their displayed traits. The strengths of this approach originate from the conceptualization of unique, individual experiences and expressions while using psychometric methodology. This is in great contrast to early psychodynamic theories that emphasized developmental deficiencies as the root of mental illness. While in trait approach these prior experiences are important, there is an increased emphasis on the potential variability in trait development or reaction to these experiences. Instead of a set of predetermined reactions to fixations, central to Frued’s theory, the trait approach shifts to individual experiences and expressions of traits. Another direct comparison of psychodynamic theory and trait-dispositional displays the strength of the trait approach as scientific measurement was central to the approach. Using self-report questionnaires, ratings by oneself and others, and other standardized tests allow trait theorists to establish objective representations of trait expression. Although there are inherent strengths in this approach, there are drawbacks in the form of the expression of the trait. One of the potential drawbacks arises in the variability in trait expression, for example extroversion can be displayed along a continuum of levels expressed. Extroversion is not the only trait that can be dynamically displayed over both short and long periods. This variability must be closely monitored through the course of development as to identify the indicative trait.
    Viewing situation-behavior patterns with an if…then approach allows for the unique interactions of personality and situations to be observed. Typically an individual’s personality or situation can be evaluated separately but the concept of interactionism suggests that these factors cannot be separated. By understanding the unique interaction between personality and situation, patterns of stability can be established. Personality stability can be established by observing each unique interaction response over a variety of situations. Interactionism’s focus on the aggregate of unique personality and situational interactions allows for an in-depth approach to the relationship of personality and situations.

    Reply

    • Jillian Harrison
      Oct 20, 2015 @ 17:09:26

      Mark,

      I really appreciated that you mentioned the difference in how personality traits are displayed in different people and how this is a limitation to the trait theory. Human emotion is so subjective and to try and categorize it into small, precise boxes does not always work the way we would like it to. I think that, in part, this could also include the cultural relevance to personality expression. Culturally its normal for certain individuals to display particular personality traits more openly or to have to subdue them. Just because a person must act a particular way in a given situation, does not mean that they do not possess a certain personality trait. I do not feel that trait theory is particularly inclusive of culturally sculpted personality traits, which could be yet another limitation.

      Reply

      • Heather Lawrence
        Oct 21, 2015 @ 21:01:37

        I am in agreement. As mental health professionals we need to make room for religious interpretation of such out of the ordinary experiences based on a person’s religion, culture, background, and belief system and not be quick to fit such symptomatic profile that leads to psychiatric labeling. Society establishes certain norms and anyone who deviates from those imaginary, societal-imposed norms, to a significant degree, have the ability to lead to permanent stigmatization. Sometimes when labeling, it gives the perception that this label sums up his or her whole existence. We do not take into consideration the person’s actions( good or bad) because in our minds we have based our perception on the label they have been given.

        Reply

        • Mark Joyce
          Oct 22, 2015 @ 16:32:12

          Heather, you make a particularly interesting point about allowing for religious interpretation. It is most certainly imperative to understand the facets of one’s religion or culture and how that plays in to the conceptualization of mental illness. I had a clinical experience where one of the clients presented as being selectively mute. The client’s family belonged to a culture and religion that would place spiritual hexes or curses on those excommunicated from their church. The client’s father committed an act worthy of excommunication and had a hex placed on his family. When my client began displaying possible signs of mental illness during their adolescent development, the family attributed the pathological development to the hex. The ensuing religious interventions and exorcisms led to the eventual development of selective mutism. The difference in societal norms was quite shocking and it was evident that the family’s cultural interpretation of mental illness only further stigmatized the youth. As aspiring therapists we must make efforts to be culturally aware of conceptions of mental illness and abnormal behavior, as not all of our clients will belong to the same culture.

          Reply

    • Taylor Gibson
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 23:27:45

      Mark,

      I like what you said about interactionism and that behavior and situation cannot be separated. I have always been personally aware of how different I behave myself given the circumstances, who I am with, and how I am feeling so it never made sense to me that psychologist would attempt to explain behavior without taking into account the surrounding circumstances.

      Reply

  2. Brittany King
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 13:09:36

    (1) What are some benefits to understanding human behavior through the trait approach? What are some disadvantages?

    Psychologist frequently use the trait approach to label, measure, and classify people. They do this by using trait terms used in everyday language such as aggressive, honest, or nice. It is assumed that behavior is mostly determined by these stable, generalized traits. A benefit to understanding human behavior through the trait approach is that the trait becomes a construct to explain human behavior (Mischel, Shoda, Ayduk, 2008). Traits are assumed to be quantifiable and saleable because they are concluded from behavior. Due to individuals differing in their responses to the same psychological situation, traits become a construct to explain behavior. Traits are on a continuous dimension where these differences are arranged quantitatively by the degree of the trait the person has (Mischel et al., 2008). A disadvantage is that the description of traits becomes generalized from the behavior to the person. For example, it will go from “he behaves in a lazy way” to “he is lazy”. This does not provide useful information. Instead of the trait being attributed to the person from their behavior, it is now viewed as the cause of the behavior. It depends on the ability to be able to predict a person’s behavior in a new psychological situation based upon behaviors observed in the past (Mischel et al., 2008).

    (2) What is interactionism within the context of “if… then… situation-behavior patterns?”

    Knowing that individuals vary across situations but exhibit stable personalities, the challenge was to see how the variation occurs, and what external and internal situation it depends on (Mischel, Shoda, Ayduk, 2008). Ultimately, the goal was to key in on a stable pattern that may be distinctive for each individual. When trying to find this, it was discovered that individuals frequently display consistent behaviors within distinct situations in stable patterns. Behaviors that do and do not occur can be informative. This created the signatures of personality. The if… then… situation-behavior patterns can provide the key to personality, if they are stable (Mischel et al., 2008). An example of this would be Brett who is friendlier than others if in situation A but less friendly than others if in situation B. You then have Lauren who is less friendly than others if in situation A but is friendlier if in situation B. In situation A, people rarely initiate personal interactions where in situation B everyone was sociable. Brett likes to be by himself and become irritated when people approach him, the reason why he would be friendlier in situation A compared to Lauren who likes to be sociable, and feels ignored when people do not initiate interactions. The if… then… situation-behavior patterns show that an individual’s personality may be seen not only in the overall average frequency of particular types of behavior shown but also in when and where the behavior occurs (Mishcel et al., p. 77, 2008).

    Reply

    • Janean Desjardins
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 00:56:05

      Brittany,

      You bring up a good point regarding the disadvantage of the traits becoming generalized from the behavior to the person. It is very easy for one to just say “he is lazy” which is just describing the person and not what behavior the person is exhibiting. When it is done in this way nothing is explained about the person’s behavior since it has just generalized the person. If you are able to look at the person’s past behavior and find a pattern of “laziness” or being “unmotivated” you would then be able to say that “He behaves in a lazy way because he has a lazy disposition”. This gives the person the trait of laziness due to his behavior.

      Reply

      • Heather Lawrence
        Oct 21, 2015 @ 21:18:31

        Labeling a trait of “laziness ” due to behavior can have profound effects on ones determination to overcome that judgement, especially for a child. If he or she believes that they can successfully overcome a label, they are more likely to work very hard to accomplish their goal. If they feel that the mountain cannot be climbed, they are less likely to even attempt to climb it. For a child that is labeled in a public school system as being “lazy”, the child often internalizes the label to the point that they feel that their entire entity is summarized with it. In return, affecting their view of themselves, branded with shame and a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

        Reply

        • Jacleen Charbonneau
          Oct 23, 2015 @ 23:41:26

          I agree with your ideas on labels, Heather. Once a trait is assigned to an individual as being part of his or her disposition, I believe there is risk for self-fulfilling effects. For example, if someone is told they are lazy, they may act lazy or feel as though they have no way to escape “what they are.” However, I wonder the effects of labeling an individual with a positive trait. If someone is labeled as determined, I wonder if school, work, or any other performance would improve.

          Reply

    • Ana Cerda
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 14:36:46

      It is true that one benefit to using a trait approach is that it forms a construct by which to categorize individuals and behavior. However, it also leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation as the labels or categories are highly subjectively defined. One issue that comes to mind is, who determines what “aggressive” or “friendly” is? I think that you made a great point as to some of the limitations of using this approach. We can come to label and stereotype people rather than behavior using this approach. It is dangerous to use as it can lead to discriminant sorting of people rather than gaining an understanding of observable behaviors.

      Reply

  3. Jacleen Charbonneau
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 13:20:42

    1) Understanding human behavior through the trait approach has both advantages and disadvantages. Regarding advantages, organizing behavior into categories of traits allows individuals to be classified and measured by psychologists (Mischel et al., 2008). Determining one’s stable traits allows for comparison in individuals. Additionally, individuals are able to be grouped into different types, or as Mischel et al. (2008) noted, “discrete categories” (p. 46). Two especially common types include introverts and extraverts. Additionally, one may be classified as having Type A patterns. Although each person may fit a number of different typologies, knowing one’s typology helps predict future outcomes depending upon what the typology consists of. For example, according to Mischel et al. (2008), those with Type A patterns can monitor their health and perhaps prevent disease simply by knowing there is high stress and tension that comes along with such typology.

    Not only do traits provide a way of labeling and comparing individuals, but they also serve to explain one’s behaviors that remain stable throughout a number of events and situations (Mischel et al., 2008). It is also important to note that there is evidence found which signifies the personality traits may be able to predict one’s life outcomes (Mischel et al., 2008).

    However, there are also drawbacks to the trait approach, which include the fact that individuals cannot perfectly fit into single typologies. In other words, it is hard to prescribe a single typology to an individual since the behaviors and psychological qualities of individuals are far from simple (Mischel et al., 2008). Actually, a majority of traits are dimensional and therefore must be measured along a continuum. Since individuals have a number of traits to certain degrees, people must be compared according to their degrees of each trait.

    Although assigning individuals traits may be convenient, there is a risk that one may assign traits as the cause of one’s behavior (Mischel et al., 2008). For example, one may describe another as behaving fearfully. However, a problem occurs when such fear is seen as defining an individual and is used to explain his or her disposition. Additionally, when using trait ratings, such as those contained in the Big Five, there is a risk of social stereotyping. Overall, the trait approach has both advantages and disadvantages when understanding behavior.

    2) Interactionism, according to Mischel et al. (2008), is the notion that actions and experiences of individuals are the result of vital interactions between situation and personality aspects. It is important to pay attention to which behaviors are present in which situations. Although behaviors may fluctuate across situations, there still may be stability within the relationship between particular situations and behaviors (Mischel et al., 2008). Such stability can provide important information about the individual’s personality. One’s patterns may paint a profile of his or her personality, called the signature of personality, which portrays the unique, varied behaviors of each individual relating to particular situations. For more specificity of one’s personality, the if…then… pattern offers a formula to the specific patterns of situations and behaviors that are unique to each individual. For example, if situation A happens, then behavior B will result. Such if…then…patterns provide specificity of which particular situation, and exactly when, the behavior results.

    Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Introduction to personality: Toward an integrative science of the person (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Reply

    • Jillian Harrison
      Oct 20, 2015 @ 17:30:26

      Jacleen,

      I liked that you talked about the dangers of labelling certain behaviors, especially outside of the professional world of psychology. Turning labels for personality traits into negative stereotypes is common, and people tend to assume certain things about those individuals that may not be accurate. For example, if a person is not talkative, they may be stereotyped as rude, stuck-up, or unapproachable. The idea behind categorizing personality traits was never to create ones that would be considered more favorable than the others, but with every theory comes limitations that can change their legitimacy in certain areas.

      Reply

  4. Erin Mamott
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 14:30:12

    1. The trait approach makes it easier to describe behaviors and, if following Allport’s view on personality structure, allows for individual uniqueness (Mischel, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2008). Allport’s emphasis on various traits existing within individuals in unique ways is a refreshing view of the person. However, because of how simplistic these terms can seem, it is easy to over simplify in an attempt to be scientific. Trying to place individuals within neat little boxes does not seem to be consistent with what Allport initially intended with trait-dispositions, but the temptation is there to try fully explaining a person or groups of people with a single word or two. When using traits to describe personality there needs to be consideration of what is meant by the terms. It is easy to get a sense of what is meant by various trait terms however as we have discussed earlier in the semester with aggression, there can be many different definitions of what counts as aggression. So, while traits are easy to apply, use, and understand, the ease is also a disadvantage because it is easy to forget to fully define trait terms.

    Another advantage to the trait approach is that trait stability has been shown over time within individuals. Since this stability can only be seen in longitudinal, individual case studies, the findings can be difficult to generalize. The development and use of interactionism and the “if… then… situation-behavior patterns” has made it a bit easier to define various traits and how individuals may exhibit the traits in behavior. Interactionism may have made the trait approach easier to generalize, however more research is necessary to further accurately describe traits and types.

    2. Interactionism is looking at the interactions between personality and environment. Another way of putting it is that interactionism seeks to describe what specific types of behaviors specific types of people will do in specific types of situations (Mischel, et al., 2008). The “if… then… situation-behavior patterns” is a way of presenting and describing personality types. Interactionists look at these behavior differences and the differences in the situation to infer differences between personality types. The goal is to precisely describe a type of person with as few “if… then…” statements as possible with no significant error.

    Reply

    • Ana Cerda
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 14:46:00

      You bring up a great point about one of the advantages of the trait approach. It is definitely useful to categorize and describe people and behavior. I agree with you that it is difficult to define the traits used to describe behavior and that stability may be a key feature used to identify “true” traits. Research in the past has chipped away at all the descriptive adjectives used in language to come to more general types or traits. They have found that stability of features and the consistency of common terms used across language and even culture give evidence to what may be “core” or “true” traits. It would be interesting to find out how accurate these terms are in the long run or if these constructs are real in human behavior or truly just our made up definitions to sort and describe for our own desire for order.

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  5. Jillian Harrison
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 16:43:14

    The trait theory assumes that there are general, underlying dispositions that account for behavior. In an attempt to categorize observable behaviors into broad, objective criteria for personality, trait theorists have developed multiple different theories about personality development. After combining research from multiple theorists such as Allport, Cattell, and Eysenck, personality psychologists have come up with the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, contentiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Each category represents a range of personality traits between two extremes. There are strengths and weaknesses to this system of defining and predicting personality. The first strength is that though many theorists created trait theories on their own, they have all ended up with similar sets of traits. This creates a sense of reliability within the theory itself and demonstrates a universal approach to personality. Another strength is that the trait theory examines observable and measurable behaviors in a variety of different settings, which provides supporting evidence for how a person will behave in certain situations according to their personality traits. However, this leads to the first weakness of the trait theory, which is that despite being able to fairly accurately predict behavior by use of correlational analysis, it does not explain why the person possesses the particular traits. Another limitation is that the theory relies on self-reports, introspection, and observations in order to figure out which traits the person possesses. If a person is not particularly in tune with themselves or does not accurately reflect their behaviors and feelings in their self-reports, then the personality traits will not be accurate. There could also be an issue with observer bias if the therapist assessing the individual does not remain objective during their sessions.

    Interactionism is the idea that personality traits and situational aspects create unique experiences that affect the individual. Since experience is completely subjective to different individuals, the if…then situation-behavior pattern suggests that an individual may display their personality trait differently in certain situations. For example, someone who is considered extraverted may be talkative with peers and others whom he or she feels comfortable around, but act shy when in a group of new people; the situation determines the pattern of behavior. This shows that the trait and the situation are equally important in determining behavior. The if…then situation-behavior pattern also suggests that individuals may behave differently in different situations, but will behave similarly in similar situations of their personality is stable.

    Reply

    • Janean Desjardins
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 01:21:23

      Jillian,

      I agree with you on the if..then..situation-behavior pattern and think you stated it very clearly. I like how you used the example between introverted and extraverted personality. Especially given that people react differently to the same situations you can see it with two ends of the spectrum here. If someone is introverted being shy and withdrawn, if she has to present in front of the class then she may become anxious. On the other hand an extravert being outgoing and social, if presenting in front the class may then become excited. Given their personalities are different and on two extremes their reaction to the same situation is different. The trait each of them has and the situation is important to determine the consistent behavior.

      Reply

    • Taylor Gibson
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 23:35:35

      Jillian,

      What you have said about the individual needing to be both truthful in how they depict themselves to others and also in touch with themselves is very true. In situations where the individual is not presenting themselves to others in a way that aligns with their personality or are out of touch touch with their own self then that would call into questions the accuracy of the trait approach. Additionally, when someone does not present or perceive themselves in a way which is true to their personality that would seem, to me, to be an important piece of personality information which the trait theory cant necessarily discover.

      Reply

    • Colleen Popores-LaFleur
      Oct 24, 2015 @ 00:01:21

      Jillian,

      I agree with you about the way many researchers came to the same conclusions about traits is a strength of this approach. It seems that many theoretical models are led by independent thinkers, and although some movements may have several big names to them, they still seem to be made up of individuals. For instance, Carl Rogers led counseling into a very different direction than those before him. Freud stood on his own, although that was partly because he rejected others’ theories unless they followed what he had already come up with. The trait model uses research in a way that makes more sense than a lot of what we’ve studied up to this point. I suppose to me, it just has more credibility if many researchers come to the same conclusions. However, this is not the end all be all. It is possible that some of our current research methods are flawed. Also, listing traits is simply one facet to a very complicated picture of personality.

      Reply

  6. Anissa Rader
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 20:47:50

    There are both advantages and disadvantages to understanding behavior through the trait approach. An advantage is that categorizing people based on traits into “discrete categories” as Mischel et al. (2008) explained, provides organization so that specific traits can be measured more easily by psychologists. Introverts and extraverts are two categories in which all people fall into according to Allport (Mischel et al., 2008). Similarly there are Type A pattern and Type B pattern people, with each “pattern” consisting of specific traits. Some trait patterns such as Type A patten and Type B pattern have actually been able to act as predictors of a person’s health. For example people who fall into the Type A category have as much as two times more likelihood of suffering from coronary heart disease (Mischel et al., 2008). Another advantage of understanding human behavior through the trait approach is trait stability. This concept has in some ways made it easier to decipher and define various traits and better understand how people display these traits in their behavior (Mischel et al., 2008).
    A disadvantage to labelling people so strictly as introvert, extravert, Type A pattern, or Type B patten is that people can’t be defined so objectively considering that individual aspects vary person to person. By approaching human behavior using the trait approach, people may be categorized into a group that may not fully suit them. The intricacies that make up a person’s behavior are so minute yet so important not to cast away because those intricacies put together make that person who they are. Not all people can fit into a labelled category for this reason. This organization may seem harmless but it has proven over time that labelling so strictly can be detrimental. An additional disadvantage is that defining a person based on their traits isn’t always accurate. Traits alone, do not always define a person’s behavior so equating one with the other is not reliable as more aspects must be considered. There is more to analyzing behavior than understanding traits.

    As Mischel et al. (2008) explains, interactionism in the context of “if…then…situation-behavior patterns,” as looking at interactions between personality and environement. More specifically the “if… then… situation-behavior patterns” are a way of describing personality type. People who use interactionism study differences in behavior and environemnt/situation and then use these factors to declare a personality type. The stability provided with these patterns provides important information that can be understood about an individual’s personlity (Mischel et al., 2008). In Allport’s view, the evaluation of situation and personality can not be done separately as it was typical previously. The relationship between personality and situations has proven to be important with the way these patterns were viewed.

    Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Introduction to personality: Toward an integrative science of the person (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Reply

    • Erin Mamott
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 10:57:07

      The discrete categories do make it easier for psychologists to measure traits and study specific parts of human personality. I think the problem starts to arise when the use of traits becomes part of “pop psychology” or that part of psychology which the general population is aware of and use. Since traits are adjectives to describe a person and his or her behaviors, it is very easy for traits be become saturated in “pop psychology”. You are right that labelling people does not fully define them because of the intricacies of human behavior. Most people do not fit perfectly into a strict category so a big question is how to address the differences. Do the categories need further definition or are these behaviors “exceptions” to the rule because of external pressures. I think that giving further definition to the categories would be difficult because of the popularity in pop psychology. Trait psychologists should focus on defining how individuals fall into or interact with the various categories and worry about correcting the public later. Interactionism could be a way of going about furthering trait studies.

      Reply

    • Meagan Monteiro
      Oct 24, 2015 @ 16:49:26

      Anissa,

      I think it is quite valuable that you emphasis Allport’s theory and that while the trait approach has some limitations, it is important to study both the traits, situations, and behaviors in order to accurately understand a person’s personality. With the trait approach, the emphasis is on characteristics. While interactionism focuses on both situational factors and traits, I feel like traits are often underplayed. In your post, you emphasized the role and importance of both traits and situational factors in understanding personality psychology.

      Reply

  7. Ana Cerda
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 23:48:18

    The trait approach categorizes people by traits that are used to describe and compare psychological attributes. It is a useful method to classify, identify, label and measure these attributes, these differences between individuals. Traits are distinguishable and consistent differences between behaviors and characteristics of individuals; they are the basic qualities of the person that express in many contexts. Traits are measured on a continuous dimension (to what degree one expresses these characteristics). One benefit to this method of categorization is that it is useful to describe and explain individual differences. The trait method uses descriptive terms to identify and explain observable characteristics. This is good because it takes into account individual perspectives and experiences (not everyone is the same or experiences the same situations nor does every person react to a situation in the same way). Although measuring on a dimensional approach is useful in capturing many individuals it can also be a negative in that it may become difficult to capture the essence of a trait if there is too much variability in its expression.The trait method uses an individual’s disposition to predict behavior. This method also tries to establish a taxonomy of attributes to form a comprehensive and descriptive system to describe people.

    One flaw is the tendency to fall into trait attributions, when we start to go beyond describing an individual’s behavior and we begin to use these labels to describe the person. We begin to use these labels as adjectives to describe the person. This then contributes to the tendency to try to explain that attribution as the cause of the observed behavior. The book gave a good example of the trait attribution laziness. We start to fall into the pattern of observing an individual’s behavior and attributing the cause as the description of that person’s character. For example, the individual behaves in a lazy fashion because he or she is lazy. These descriptive categories of traits may reflect social stereotypes of the researcher rather than the actual trait qualities of the individual. Another limitation of this method is that it does not necessarily indicate causality; the traits may just simply be a descriptive measure of observable behaviors rather than predictive factors causing the behavior. It is also difficult to generalize these traits across time and varying situations.

    Consistency in personality in the context of situation-behavior are seen when particular situations are linked to particular characteristic behaviors. This takes the situation into account in the analysis of characteristics. Different people may consistently act differently in varying situations. Within certain situations, certain characteristic responses may be predicted because an individual shows characteristically stable patterns. Interactionism refers to the idea that an individual’s experience and action are a product of dynamic interactions between the various aspects of personality and situations. Focus is on both the individual differences (traits) and the conditions or situational variables that influence behavior and how they interact.

    Reply

    • Colleen Popores-LaFleur
      Oct 24, 2015 @ 00:06:15

      Ana,

      I agree with you about how easy it is to fall into labeling each other with traits rather than understanding that human personality is much more complex. We tend to do this frequently in our everyday lives. The example from the book alludes to how often parents talk about their children in this way. On the other hand, it seems like many people like to be labeled (especially when positive). On social media and the internet there are a million different quizzes people can take about their personality. Most of them are absolute nonsense, but we have fun being told what we are like. It seems like we are very stuck in using certain behaviors or traits as a way to categorize ourselves and others.

      Reply

  8. Janean Desjardins
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 00:37:49

    (1) What are some benefits to understanding human behavior through the trait approach? What are some disadvantages?

    The trait approach allows psychologists to identify and measure differences between individuals by using everyday terms such as aggressive, humble, or sarcastic. There is a benefit to this approach which is done in order to describe and compare their characteristics, behavior, and possible medical outcomes. Most people are described as being either introverted, extraverted, Type A or Type B personality. Introverted people tend to be shy, withdraw to themselves especially when stressed, and avoids others. While extraverted people react to stress by trying to engage in social activity, they are outgoing, and very conversational. Type A personality people are very competitive, usually involved in many activities, also show a great deal of impatience and hostility. Due to the hypervigilance of hostility that the Type A holds they have a predicted greater risk of Coronary Heart Disease. This is due to the fact that they smoke more, have higher levels of cholesterol in their blood, and report less medical symptoms than Type B personality. Type B personality is the polar opposite in personality they are described as laid back, relaxed, lack of time urgency.

    The disadvantage to this approach is that not every fits into one category or another. Most people can fit into a middle ground on being introverted and extraverted having some traits from each. Allport’s view was that traits never occur in any two people in exactly the same way. Just as everyone has different traits people react to the same situations in different ways. It is how one individual acts consistently over a long period of time that would show their behavior.

    (2) What is interactionism within the context of “if… then… situation-behavior patterns?

    Interactionism is defined as a dynamic interaction between aspects of personality and situations. When looking at “’if..then..situation-behavior patterns within the context of interactionism you would focus on the display of stable personality within the environmental situation. For example, a person may have an overall easy going temperament but when provoked can show fits of rage. Therefore if this person feels threatened by someone their reaction then becomes rage. On the flip side if they feel loved by someone their reaction then becomes compassionate. This patterns shows that the person will have a similar behavior pattern in similar situations if their personality is in fact stable.

    Reply

    • Marisa Molinaro
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:19:45

      I found that reading your response gave me a better understanding of the trait approach. I especially liked how you gave examples of different traits and explained them with different types of behaviors. I agree that a major disadvantage of this approach is the subjectivity that it creates when being applied to more than one person. Discussing Allport’s view about how traits never occur the same way in in two people helps to add to this explanation. The if…then approach is something that I feel is used to help prevent the overgeneralizing of traits from one person to another. It provides a type of formula that can be used for each specific individual to help predict future behaviors.

      Reply

  9. Salome Wilfred
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 07:28:13

    Understanding human behavior through traits assists in a better understanding of the commonality between individuals as well as the uniqueness between individuals. According to Raymond B Cattell (1950) common traits are held by many individuals in varying degrees while unique traits are held only by a particular person and cannot be found in the same form in another person (Mischel, Shoda & Ayduk, 2008). This approach helps researchers and therapist in identifying common characteristics between their current and past clients that may help direct and begin effective treatment. Unique traits helps maintain the idea that each client is different and needs to be approached differently despite the common traits among all clients.

    While this approach is very advantageous the concepts used to describe traits quickly become the cause of behavior opposed to an explanation for certain behavior. This generalized approach has the potential to prevent an actual understanding of the individual and not simply their behaviors. It is important to remember that while traits significantly help in understanding an individual and their behavior, traits alone are not cause the behavior.

    Interactionism focuses on how an individuals personality impacts the environment and how the environment impacts the individuals personality, in that moment. The “if…then…. patterns of situation-behavior relationships” explains when and where certain behavior occur (Mischel et al., 2008). This concept provides a key understanding of the complexity of an individual’s personality and can help in better predicting future behavior in certain situations based on past behavior in similar situations.

    Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Introduction to personality: Toward an integrative science of the person (8th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

    Reply

    • Marisa Molinaro
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:23:58

      I agree that it is equally important to identify common traits between people as well as unique traits that are specific to that individual. The trait approach allows a better understanding of different individual’s similarities as well as their differences. I also wrote about how it can be misused as giving an understanding of the actual person and not just their behavior. There are other factors and things going on within the individual that make them react and behave a certain way to certain situations and their traits are not the only thing that define them.

      Reply

    • Brittany King
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:13:40

      Salome,

      Your post was refreshing to read and I enjoyed when you talked about how the trait approach helps both researchers and therapist use effect treatment. It is important to note that each client is different even though there are similarities in the traits among clients. Many times, I feel like we are learning this material but never apply it to the clinical aspect like you have. It is extremely important to recongnize the uniqueness in individuals which traits have assisted us in doing.

      Reply

  10. Bridget Kesling
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 09:25:17

    (1) What are some benefits to understanding human behavior through the trait approach? What are some disadvantages?

    There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to understanding behavior through the trait approach.When looking at Trait approach some of the advantages are that through analysis of personally traits, one should be able to predict behavior seemingly accurately. Identifying traits allow therapist to have a starting point, to which they can start analyzing behavior of client to determine if a behavior is within the baseline of a client’s norm or if they are outside the realm of their typical behavior. For example if someone who is typically identified as being loud, extroverted, and highly social suddenly presents as quiet and aloof. That may be a warning sign to a therapist that something is not quite right because they are veering away from their typical trait structure and behavior pattern.
    Some of the down sides to this method of understanding human behavior is that traits do not always accurately predict human behavior. So if two clients present with the same trait structure are put into a situation, there is a greater chance that they will react similarly, but it is not guaranteed they will react in the same manner. Also, a person’s trait structure can be ever changing based on transactions between an individual and their environment. Things like trauma can cause a person to react outside the realm of what their particular trait structures would present.

    (2) What is interactionism within the context of “if… then… situation-behavior patterns?
    Interactionism is looking at a person’s personality traits and then looking at them in a particular situation. When combined these factors are combined then you can see the results of if then. For example if a person with borderline personality is functioning in social situations with no real need for intimate relationships, then they may appear seemingly normal. But, If you place a person with borderline personality traits in a intimate relationship then it is likely that you will see some struggles in their relationships. They may exhibit patterns of obsessive calling, seeking conflict, and/or continuous monitoring of other person.

    Reply

    • Erin Mamott
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:19:57

      Yes, traits do make it easier to identify baselines of behavior for individuals, but what about the deviations which are not as drastic? How should the behaviors that slightly differ from the person’s “norm” be considered, assuming that there is not pathology behind it? For example, if a normally a type B personality decides to play a sport and suddenly becomes almost as competitive as a type A personality. The competitiveness is only in relation to the sport so there isn’t really a complete change in the individual’s personality, only one aspect is different from the baseline. The biggest disadvantage to the trait approach is that most people fall into the middle range rather than neatly into one category or another. Also, just a side thought, if a person’s trait structure is “ever changing” can it really be part of personality? Obviously setting aside severe trauma and changes during development, the definition of personality we have been using assumes stability not constant change.

      Interactionism looks at specific types of people in specific types of situations and their specific types of behaviors. The “if… then…” situation-behavior pattern is a way of presenting these specific types in interactionism. The “if… then…” is a tool for defining types of people. Your reply to this question could have been a little more explicit in how interactionism uses “if… then…” situation-behavior patterns.

      Reply

  11. Marisa Molinaro
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 10:59:38

    The trait approach is when we classify people according to their specific traits to compare certain attributes about them to try and make sense of them (Mischel, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2008). There are some benefits as well as some disadvantages to using this approach. By using traits to describe human behavior, it helps to create a construct that everyone can understand. For example, a common trait that we use to describe others is friendliness. Most people understand the meaning of this word so therefore it gives a commonality across the board to measure. By defining these specific constructs, we are allowing these traits to be quantifiable and scalable so that they can be used to compare the similarities and differences between individuals (Mischel et al., 2008). Traits are also used to help predict a person’s behavior. Once you have an understanding of an individual’s core traits you can then try to predict the way that they will act and react in new situations (Mischel et al., 2008). However, a disadvantage of this is when this behavior is generalized to the person. For example, saying “he behaves in a lazy way” soon can be interpreted as “he is lazy”. It is important to remember that these traits are specifically defining the personality of the person and are not defining who they actually are as a person. Another disadvantage of the trait approach is that it can at times be very subjective, and may only mirror the social stereotypes and concepts of the environment around them and not actually reflect their own view points (Mischel et al., 2008). It is important to remember that some things may be perceived as being one way, but you must take into account each individual’s unique point of view and reactions to certain situations.

    Now that we have an idea of the reasons why people behave in a certain way, it is important to see which situations these specific behaviors do and don’t occur. When the situation changes, the behaviors and the way that person reacts can also change (Mischel et al., 2008). The if…then approach is used to describe the way a person reacts in two different situations. For example, if someone is sociable around their friends (A) but very shy and quiet around their teachers (B) this would be considered an if… then approach and would be used to also show how they may react in similar situations that are similar to A and B. This approach helps to show that a person’s personality is not just an average of particular types of behaviors, but also looking at how and when these behaviors occur in different situations throughout the person’s life (Mischel et al., 2008)

    Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Ayduk, O. (2008). Introduction to personality: Toward an integrative science of the person (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Reply

    • Mark Joyce
      Oct 22, 2015 @ 16:52:49

      Marisa, you make a great point about how trait attribution can be helpful in predicting a person’s behavior. Analyzing peoples’ traits and behaviors has far reaching applications outside of therapy. One of the most helpful applications, that we discussed in class, is performing trait assessments for occupational aptitude. While trait application is not necessary for every field, it can certainly be beneficial in screening for some occupations. The two jobs that we talked about in class, working for the FBI or as an air traffic controller, are two very high stress and demanding jobs. By assessing the traits of current and former employees, and comparing them to potential applicants can produce a predictive measure of success. I don’t necessarily believe that personality tests should be the end-all for determining capability in certain occupations, but it certainly has its advantages. An example of this in my own life was one of my childhood neighbors applied to work for the FBI and for his job application a neighbor, my mother, was distributed a personality or trait inventory to complete for my neighbor. It is interesting to know the far reaching applications of trait approach but it is important to be aware of its drawbacks.

      Reply

  12. Heather Lawrence
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:50:11

    1. The strengths of trait theories lie in their ability to categorize behaviors and their use of objective criteria. Some argue that traits do a poor, job of predicting behavior in every situation. While others believe that trait theories provide a strong correlation for combined behaviors. Another limitation is that they require personal observations, or subjective self-reports to measure, requiring individuals to be introspective enough to know their own behavior. While trait theories provide information about how individual may behave, they do not explain why they may behave this way. For example, an extroverted individual is energized by social interactions and seeks out social situations, but trait theory does not offer any explanation for why this might occur or why an introvert would avoid such situations.
    2. According to Mischel et. al. (2008), interactionism within this context is an individual’s behavior that is mostly dependent on traits like sociability, and these traits are expected to be consistent across different situations. An individual’s behavior is not simply the result of his or her traits, but fundamentally dependent on situational cues and the needs of a given situation. Consistency would be found in distinctive, but stable patterns of “if-then” situation-behavior relations that form personality signatures. If x situation occurs, then y behavior may result. Rather than defining people merely by their traits (“he is an angry person”), that personality research should factor in the importance of context (“he becomes angry/threatened near authoritative figures”). In this way, the importance of physical, social, and environmental factors shape behavior. Individuals who were similar in average levels of behaviors, such as aggression, differed predictability and dramatically in their aggressive behavior depending on the type of situation they were in. The “if-then” situation-behavior patterns assess both stability and variability in behavior that is produced by the underlying personality system.

    Mischel, W., Shoda, Y. & Ayduk, O. (2008). Introduction to personality: Toward an integrative science of the person (8th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Reply

    • Julia Sherman
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 11:09:27

      I agree with your comment that the trait approach is difficult to research because it relies so heavily on self-reports. I had not thought of it that way, but you are absolutely right–while many people have good insight into the nature of their own behaviors, many people do not, which can negatively impact the research done with the trait approach. It would be impossible for researchers to be able to observe research participants enough to learn their individual traits. As was mentioned in class, researchers could give a survey to a friend or family member who could also answer the questions. While certainly not perfect, doing so would give additional insight that may prove useful.

      Reply

  13. Taylor Gibson
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 11:54:17

    1) One of the benefits of using the trait approach to understand behavior is that it is very commonsense approach. This approach is advantageous as it parallels our natural tendency to describe people based on the traits we perceive them to have. Trait theorists label, measure, and classify people and behaviors using constructs that, for the most part, are already widely understood in the English language (Mischel, 2008). In addition to being a theoretically straightforward theory, it can also easily understood by laypeople. Using the trait theory to conduct psychoeducation with clients has the potential to be much easier as people already think of themselves and others in terms of traits and the clinician doesn’t have to explain a convoluted theoretical basis for their treatments. One of the disadvantages for the trait theory is that it falls into a “chicken or egg” type dilemma. There is argument regarding the trait theory that questions whether traits are the cause of behavior or simply manifestations of behavior that we group together for ease. Because of this it is unclear whether this theory has identified the cause of behavior or if traits are superficial groupings of behaviors (Mischel, 2008).

    2) Interactionism is the idea within personality psychology that an individuals’ actions cannot be understood without also understanding the situational factors surrounding that behavior (Mischel, 2008). “If… Then…” Situation-behavior patterns are the specific circumstances under which a person behaves in a certain way. For example, Jim may be very talkative around friends but when he is in a social setting with many people he doesn’t know, he becomes very quiet. “If… Then…” Behavior patterns encourage the clinician to look for these situations and how the client behaves in them in order to understand the client better.

    Reply

    • Salome Wilfred
      Oct 26, 2015 @ 17:23:19

      Taylor,

      I appreciated your take on interactionism. As you noted, it is really important to remember that experiences are subjective and therefore the traits an individual demonstrates reflects that. As a result, individuals who have similar personality traits will demonstrate them differently in the same situation. Simply because they demonstrate different traits in the same situation does not mean the trait is no longer there but their perception of the situation influences how they express the trait. I think it’s really important to remember this but it also can make understanding behavior through traits a little more complicated than originally thought.

      Reply

  14. Colleen Popores-LaFleur
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 12:24:52

    (1) One major strength in the trait approach to psychology is the fact that it is based on common language. Rather than terms, theories and ideas being abstract and many times hard to understand by a layperson, traits are basic descriptions of the qualities of a person. Although this is sometimes seen as not going beyond the surface of a person, there are some advantages to focusing on these observable traits. These qualities are things that we find important and are a reflection of how we observe and judge others in everyday life.

    Traits are the qualities of an individual and are thought to be stable across time and situation. Although there have been many traits identified and studied, there are a few that have been selected again and again as the main personality traits. This is often referred to as the “Big 5.” The use of factor analysis has created a generalizable theory that can be applied in various languages despite the heavy reliance on language in identifying traits. These main traits are useful because they reflect what society sees as important qualities. The trait approach is not filled with abstract theories but is an easily understandable description of the personality, categorizing individuals on several dimensions. Traits are identified and labeled with common terms and do not rely on complex theories of how the mind works.

    A limitation to the trait approach comes from the idea that traits are a reflection of society, in the way that they are descriptive labels and dependent on language. Some think that this means that traits are reflections of stereotypes rather than objective traits. As individuals are rated by others, it is hard to know how well a person’s rating of another will truly reflect their personality rather than someone’s opinion of them.

    (2) The “if…then…” situation-behavior patterns refer to the idea that although people measure to have a certain trait on average, there are differences in how they react to specific situations. This means that while a person may be aggressive, this may only be in certain contexts such as when interacting with specific types of people. They may score overall as having a certain level of aggressiveness, it is not so stable that their behavior never changes, but rather that the score is an average of their varying behaviors.

    Interactionism focuses on the “if…then…” patterns because of a need to look at the overall picture. It emphasizes the fact that while a person may act a certain way in a situation, this one act is just a snapshot of their behavior and cannot be generalized to label their entire personality. There must be an aggregate of many situations in order to understand the person’s overall behavior, taking into consideration personal and situational factors.

    Reply

    • Brittany King
      Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:08:41

      Colleen,

      I enjoyed reading your post and how you talked about how the trait approach uses common language rather than abstract terms and theories. Almost everyone knows the basic notion of what someone who is aggressive would look like because it is observable, at the surface. What I found the most helpful about your post was the part about the limitations of the trait approach. You menitioned how the traits can be refelctions of stereotypes rather than objective traits which is extremely important to not. Instead of saying the person acts in a lazy way, it turns into saying the person is lazy. These stereotypes can be damaging to a perosn when the focus is no longer on the behavior but rather is placed on the person.

      Reply

    • Julia Sherman
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 11:17:13

      I liked your point about the trait approach using common language that everyone can understand. I think that this was probably done on purpose, considering that the trait approach was in response to psychodynamics and behaviorism. Both of those theories used language that most people were not familiar with, so the founders of the trait approach likely did the opposite and chose to use common language.

      Reply

    • Jacleen Charbonneau
      Oct 23, 2015 @ 23:55:32

      Colleen,

      I like your point about how traits are labeled with common terminology, as well as how the trait approach does not include loads of abstract theories. It appears to be a much simpler approach compared to alternate psychology approaches, and it seems quite straightforward for the most part. However, perhaps the simplicity of the traits’ terminology saves confusion when dealing with the complex dimensionality that comes along with it.

      Reply

    • Meagan Monteiro
      Oct 24, 2015 @ 16:42:01

      Colleen,
      I like that you highlighted the fact that the trait approach relies on a person’s definition or idea of what a trait may be. This could lead to quite a lot of variability or inconsistencies regarding how people behave or what traits they possess. As you highlight, a person’s opinion of themselves could be quite different from another person’s opinion of that individual. The context in which people know each other can also change their opinion of what traits a person has. For instance, a mother, friend, teacher, and coworker will all evaluate the same person in different ways.

      Reply

    • Salome Wilfred
      Oct 26, 2015 @ 17:21:28

      Colleen,

      I agree that a major strength in the trait approach is the use of common language. I feel as if way too often the language used when trying to explain theories or ideas is the reason for so much confusion. These basic descriptions and common words allow for actual conversation about the theory opposed to trying to understand the theory itself. Unfortunately, this common language can still be cause for confusion because everyone’s understanding and experience with the words used is so different. The reading touched upon how this was a weakness. Do you think highlighting the different understandings and experiences of these words used decreases the effectiveness of having these common words to explain the traits we commonly discuss?

      Reply

  15. Julia Sherman
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 13:46:50

    1) I find trait theory to have a number of advantages. For one, it does not generally exclude other personality theories, particularly the ones that we have discussed so far in this class. While psychodynamics and behaviorism often both focus on what causes changes in personality, the trait approach merely focuses on the differences between personalities. Therefore, one can adopt the trait-dispositional theory while also supporting other theories.
    Additionally, while the trait approach may be a relatively recent approach in the field of modern psychology, humanity has relied on this form of thinking for centuries. As the textbook explains, trait theory goes at least as far back as Hippocrates and his theory of the four humors (Mischel, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2008; p. 46). Historically, humanity has found it advantageous to simplify the wide variety of personalities we encounter by putting each personality into an easily understood category. It is therefore logical to take this natural way of thinking and utilize it for the study of the psychology of personality. 
    However, as with any psychological theory, the trait approach is not without its disadvantages. The most clear disadvantage is its tendency to oversimplify the vastly complicated mechanics of personality. For example, it is easy to label an individual as being introverted, but one’s level of introversion/extraversion is largely dependent on the particular situation. Many introverts experience instances of extraversion when they interact with another very shy individual. Similarly, those labeled as extraverted have their own moments of needing to be alone in their own space. While it may be easy to label an individual as one or the other, the true reality is not so simple.
    Additionally, the textbook argues that the use of the trait approach can lead to a tautological conclusion regarding an individual’s particular trait. The example given is, “he behaves in a lazy way because he has a lazy disposition” (Mischel, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2008; p. 49). Because a lazy disposition is demonstrated by lazy behavior, this statement does not lead us closer to understanding why, exactly, the individual has apparently developed a lazy personality. In other words, while the trait approach may provide a relatively easy way of conceptualizing personality, it does not do a great deal to help us understand the causes of those traits.
    2) Interactionism is a theoretical approach that states that an individual’s “experience and interaction” MUST be understood in the context of the individual’s “personality and situations” (Mischel, Shoda, & Ayduk, 2008). In other words, these different aspects must not be viewed separately, but instead must be viewed as constantly interacting with and influencing each other, resulting in a complicated system of personality factors. This is closely related to the “if…then…situation-behavior patterns,” a theory which focuses on the way in which different situations elicit different reactions in different individuals. This theory is important for the trait approach, as it generally keeps the trait approach from oversimplifying personality constructs. The interactionism approach takes into account the fact that behavior and other indicators of personality may not always appear to be consistent, but i they are predictable so long as all of the underlying factors that contribute to behavior change are taken into account.

    Reply

  16. Jason Prior
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 15:28:38

    1) Trait approach classifies behavior into different categorical traits, which are measurable. There are advantages to this method. These traits, such as aggression, are relatively stable in any given individual, and so psychologists should be able to understand people based on these traits. In fact, these traits are used but many people daily. Even without a technical definition, most people have a concept of aggression, compassion, extroversion, etc. Another advantage is that traits can be compiled and grouped together in order to give an overall view of the person, such as classifying them as a Type A personality. This means the person is likely aggressive, ambitious, extroverted, etc. It allows for some degree of prediction of that person’s behavior. Going off of that, trait disposition theory allows for a great deal of individuality. While people poses the same traits, the level at which they poses them is different, as is how that trait is expressed. There are some disadvantages in this process, however. Individuality means that generalization will be low. You can’t say two people will behave the exact same way because they both are aggressive, however it does give you a ballpark measure, so to speak. Another problem is the traits themselves may be insufficient descriptors of people. A person is more than a sum of traits, and not so easily classified, so the traits can never be solely relied on.

    2) Interactionism is the idea that there are relationships between a person’s trait expression and the environment. In essence, the expression of a trait is determined by the environment. It uses the if…then… situation-behavior pattern to give a holistic view of human behavior. This does not mean that the trait itself changes, only that it is expressed. A person who is normally not considered aggressive can express aggression if the environment provokes it. This does not mean that the person is now aggressive.

    Reply

  17. Meagan Monteiro
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 15:53:28

    1) What are some benefits to understanding human behavior through the trait approach? What are some disadvantages? (2) What is interactionism within the context of “if… then… situation-behavior patterns?
    The trait approach is a way to label, measure and classify individuals based upon traits or basic qualities that a person has. This approach is beneficial because it stems from a common way people describe others and their behavior, through adjectives such as nice, friendly, angry, lazy etc. Since it is common for people to conceptualize a person, their behavior and their qualities with specific traits, the trait approach represents an initial way to conceptualize how we view personality and its effect on human behavior. Another benefit of the trait approach is that traits are not separated into finite categories but rather dimensions. For example, two people can be introverted, but can vary in how introverted they are. In this way, the trait approach can consider individual differences. Another benefit is that these differences can be quantified using the degrees of the trait that a person may possess. Despite the utility of the trait approach, there are some disadvantages. For instance, although traits may predict some behavior, it is important to note that they are not indicative of all behavior. One trait, such as altruism, in different situations may produce different outcomes. Not only is the trait approach unable to predict all behavior, but also causes a person’s behavior to become a reflection of who they are. For instance, Mischel, Shoda and Ayduk give the example of a person behaves in a lazy way which leads to the conclusion that he is lazy, and then that person becomes characterized by this particular behavior. In conclusion, one major disadvantage of trait approach is stereotyping and the dangers this poses.
    Interactionism is the idea that the individual’s experiences and actions are the product of dynamic interactions between aspects of personality and situations. Within the context of “if…then..situation-behavior patterns”, a person’s interactionsim is observed. In other words, an individual displays various traits or characteristics that have a specific effect on behavior. A person may be lazy, but only display this laziness in certain situations. For example, while Meagan is at work, she is energetic, able to complete all of her tasks, and can even help other coworkers with their tasks, however, when she is at home and has access to Netflix, she is unable to do any of her homework, household chores etc. So in one situation or at home, Meagan could be defined as lazy, while in another she may not be defined as lazy. The consistency in which Meagan is lazy in some situations and not others is the if..then..situation behavior patterns. This approach not only considers traits and the frequency in which they are displayed but also the external factors that allow this traits to be more or less prominent in behavioral patterns.

    Reply

  18. brian faust
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 15:53:32

    1) The trait dispositional approach has advantages and disadvantages when it comes to understandings human behavior. The approach allows researchers to easily categorize behaviors. Specific behaviors are looked for and can easily be identified. Factor analysis is also able to determine and specify what observable traits are apparent in human behavior. Opponents can argue that traits are inaccurate at predicting human behavior in almost all situations. Traits theories can be beneficial in describing aggregate behaviors. By understanding the pieces of the puzzle, one can better understand the entirety of human behavior. Another limitation of human behavior is that it must be “observed” and his highly open to subjectivity. The observers need enough introspection to not let observer’s bias affect their judgment. Trait theories can explain the how but not the why of human behavior.
    2) Interactionism within the if of a situation describing human behavior is knowing that individual’s personality can alter in certain situations, but not across a lifetime. By attempting to find a key trait that is able to describe human behavior, they believed they could understand them. This could ultimately help to explain why situations occur in specific situations. The if… then… situation-behavior patterns show that an individual’s personality may be seen not only in the overall average frequency of particular types of behavior shown but also in when and where the behavior occurs (Mishcel et al., p. 77, 2008).

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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