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The precise definition of personality has been a point of discussion amongst many different theorists within many different disciplines since the beginning of civilisation Personality can be defined as the distinctive and characteristic patterns of thought emotion and behaviour that define an individuals personal style and influence his or her interactions with the environment Atkinson Atkinson Smith Bem 1993 525 It can be proposed that personality psychology has two different tasks The first involves specifying the variables on which individuals differ from one another The second involves synthesising the psychological processes of human functioning into an integrated account of the total person Atkinson et al 1993 532 There are many different theories of personality and many different theorists The purpose of this essay is to examine the trait approach specifically the five-factor model Both the development and limitations of the Five-Factor model of personality shall be discussed Trait theory is based on several assumptions The first assumption is that any difference between people that is seen as significant will have a name Secondly these names known as traits are conceived of as continuous dimensions In general trait theories assume that people vary simultaneously on a number of personality factors These traits are of both the conjunctive and disjunctive form Therefore to understand a trait it is necessary to understand what a particular trait is and what type of behaviour is evidence of that trait Atkinson et al 1993 Five factor theorists are one set of trait theorists The claim of five factor theorists is that behaviour can be best predicted and explained by measurement of five dominant personality factors The five factor theory is a fairly recent proposal and has its basis in earlier work which shall be discussed One of the statistical techniques most commonly used in the study of personality is that of factor analysis By identifying groups of highly intercorrelated
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