Personality Trait Theories

Week 4: Personality Trait Theories

Think of situations that require you to describe your personality. It might be for a profile on a dating site or introducing yourself on a resume or cover letter. How you present yourself may vary according to your purpose, and the exact words you use might change. But most likely you would consider the qualities, or traits, that you want to highlight about yourself—such as fun-loving and curious or intelligent and dependable. In fact, your description might be a string of personality traits. And for those reading about you, most likely those traits would create a fairly clear picture of who you are.

When called on to describe personality, most people typically turn to the vocabulary of traits. The idea that personality is driven by identifiable, observable traits can be easier to grasp than more abstract personality theories. For help in identifying traits, there are a variety of personality trait assessments. They are used informally (think pop psychology quizzes) or for career guidance, and also as a workplace tool for screening job candidates.

Yet, what are personality assessments measuring? Are they truly objective? Are they scientific? Are their results accurate, measurable, and valuable? This week you will examine these questions as you explore personality trait theory and the value of personality trait assessments. You will base at least some of your conclusions on your experience in taking a personality trait assessment this week and evaluating the results. As you consider the effectiveness of these tools, you will also apply personality trait theories to your understanding of human behavior.

Learning Objectives
Students will:
Evaluate applicability of personality trait assessment
Analyze strengths and limitations of personality trait assessment
Evaluate effectiveness of personality trait theories in explaining human behavior
Compare personality trait theories with psychoanalytic and humanistic theories
Examine contributions of theorists to personality trait theories
Demonstrate an understanding of personality trait theories
Learning Resources
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2019). Personality: Theory and research (14th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Chapter 7, “Trait Theories of Personality: Allport, Eysenck, and Catell” (pp. 180-204)
Chapter 8, “Trait Theory: The Five-Factor Model and Contemporary Developments” (pp. 205-240)Review these chapters of the text to support your Discussion and Assignment in Week 4. Also note that the Week 4 Test for Understanding is based on the material in these chapters.
Note: In preparation for the Discussion and Assignment in Week 4, you must take one of the following personality trait assessments:
Personality Psychology Tests. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.outofservice.com/
The Big Five Personality Test
“Blurter or Brooder” Communication Style Test
Do You Censor What You Say? Self-Monitoring Test
Twins: An Interactive Personality Test (for students who have a twin)
Boeree, C. G. (2006). Personality theories: Gordon Allport. Retrieved from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/allport.html
Use this web source for additional information on Allport to support your Week 4 Assignment.
Optional Resources
Queendom.com. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.queendom.com/
This site features a variety of profile assessments, from career assessments to health personality assessments. For your personal use only, you may choose to take one of these assessments:
Emotional Intelligence Test
The Career Personality & Aptitude Test
The Big Five Personality Test
Discussion Spark
By Day 1
Read the Discussion Spark topic/question or comment posted by your Instructor in the Discussion Thread.

By Day 2
With these thoughts in mind:

Post a 1- to 2-paragraph response to the Discussion Spark.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:
Week 4 Discussion Spark Rubric
Read by Day 1 and Post by Day 2
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 4 Discussion Spark
Discussion: Scrutinizing Personality Trait Assessments
Companies large and small use personality trait assessments as tools for screening applicants and for assessing strengths (and limitations) of employees on the job. If a prospective employer asked you to take a personality trait assessment, do you think you know your personality well enough that you would recognize the traits that would emerge?

But what if the results revealed traits that you did not recognize about yourself? Would it be more likely that the test is inaccurate, or can these assessments reveal personality traits of which an individual may be unaware?

For this Discussion, you will take a personality trait assessment and, based on the results, explore some or possibility all of those questions. Keep in mind that the purpose of this Discussion is to consider the question of test accuracy and the depth of what personality trait assessments can reveal. You may keep private specific results from your assessment that you prefer not to share with colleagues.

To prepare:

Take one of the personality trait assessments included in this week’s Learning Resources. Be sure to retrieve your score.
Reflect on the results and how well you feel they describe your personality.
Consider how you would view the results if they were used by a prospective employer to evaluate you for a job or promotion.
Review the Week 4 reading in the text to help support your thinking.
By Day 3
Post a response that includes the following:

Describe the assessment you completed and your score.
Explain to what degree you think the assessment results reflect your personality and why.
Explain at least two strengths and two limitations of the personality trait assessment that you took if it were used in the workplace.
Note: Be sure to support the responses within your initial Discussion post (and in your colleague reply) with information obtained from the assigned Learning Resources, including in-text citations and a reference list for sources used. For information regarding how your Discussion will be evaluated, please review the grading rubric located in the Course Information area of the course.
By Day 5
Respond to at least one of your colleagues in one or more of the following ways:

Ask a probing question and provide insight into how you would answer your question and why.
Ask a probing question and provide the foundation, or rationale, for the question.
Expand on your colleague’s posting by offering a new perspective or insight.
Agree with a colleague and offer additional (new) supporting information for consideration.
Disagree with a colleague by respectfully discussing and supporting a different perspective.
Support your reply to a colleague’s post with at least one reference (textbook or other scholarly, empirical resources). You may state your opinion and/or provide personal examples; however, you must also back up your assertions with evidence (including in-text citations) from the source and provide a reference.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:
Week 4 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 4 Discussion

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