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The precise definition of personality has been a point of discussionamongst many differenttheorists within many different disciplines since the beginning of civilisationPersonality can bedefined as the distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought emotion andbehaviour that definean individuals personal style and influence his or her interactions with theenvironment AtkinsonAtkinson Smith Bem 1993 525 It can be proposed that personality psychology hastwodifferent tasks The first involves specifying the variables on which individualsdiffer from oneanother The second involves synthesising the psychological processes of human functioninginto anintegrated account of the total person Atkinson et al 1993 532 There are manydifferent theoriesof personality and many different theorists The purpose of this essay is to examine thetrait approachspecifically the five-factor model Both the development and limitations of theFive-Factor model ofpersonality shall be discussed Trait theory is based on several assumptions The first assumption isthat any differencebetween people that is seen as significant will have a name Secondly these names knownas traitsare conceived of as continuous dimensions In general trait theories assume that peoplevarysimultaneously on a number of personality factors These traits are of both theconjunctive anddisjunctive form Therefore to understand a trait it is necessary to understand what aparticular traitis and what type of behaviour is evidence of that trait Atkinson et al 1993 Fivefactor theorists areone set of trait theorists The claim of five factor theorists is that behaviour can bebest predicted andexplained by measurement of five dominant personality factors The five factor theory is afairlyrecent proposal and has its basis in earlier work which shall be discussed One of the statistical techniques most commonly used in the study ofpersonality is that of factor analysis By identifying groups of highly intercorrelated variables factoranalysis enables us to determine how many underlying factors are measured by a set of poriginal variables In other words factor analysis is used to uncover the factor structure of a setof variables Diekhoff 1992 333A factor analysis will generally show that a smaller number
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