Cattell theory of personality

Cattell Theory of Personality

Cattell Theory of Personality:-

The most recent advanced theory on personality based on the trait approach has been developed by Cattell (1973), a British-born American researcher. According to Cattel, traits are divided  in four types. They are as follows –

I) Common Traits

The traits found widely distributed in general population like honesty, aggression and cooperation are named as Common Traits.

II) Unique Traits –

Some traits are unique in nature. They are called Unique Traits. Unique Traits to a person is such as temperamental traits, emotional reaction etc.

III) Surface Traits –

This types of traits are curiosity, dependability, tactfulness etc. These can be recognized, when people manifest their behavior like curiosity, dependability, tactfulness etc.

IV) Source Traits –

This types traits are dominance, submission emotionality etc. These are the underlying structure that determine behavior such as dominance, submission emotionality etc.

The theory developed by Cattell, attributes certain specific dimensions to personality, so that human behavior related to a particular situation, can be predicted.

Cattell has adopted factors analysis as a strategy for this work. Through the process of factors analysis, Cattell arrived at the 16 basic or source trait dimensions.

These 16 basic factor trait dimensions or factors (the ways in which people may differ) are reproduced bellow along with explanatory descriptions of the related dimensions.


Traits Dimensions or Factors

A Reserved (detached, critical, aloof, stiff). Vs Outgoing (warm-hearted, easy-going, participating).
B Less intelligence (concrete thinking). Vs More intelligent (abstract thinking, bright).
C Affected by feelings (emotionally less stable, easily upset, changeable). Vs Emotionally Stable (mature, faces reality, calm).
E Submissive (mild, easily led, docile, accommodating). Vs Dominant (aggressive, stubborn, competitive).
F Serious (sober, taciturn). Vs Happy –go-lucky (enthusiastic).
G Expedient (disregards rules). Vs Conscientious (persistent, moralistic, staid).
H Timid (shy, fears threat, sensitive). Vs Venturesome (uninhibited, socially bold).
I Tough-minded (self-reliant, realistic). Vs Tender-hearted (sensitive, clinging, over protected).
L Trusting (Accepting Condition). Vs Suspicious (hard to fool)
M Practical (down to earth, concerns). Vs Imaginative (bohemian, absent-minded).
N Forthright (unpretentious, genuine but socially clumsy). Vs Shrewd (socially aware, astute).
O Self-assured (secure, placid, complacent). Vs Apprehensive (self-critical, insecure, worrying, troubled).
Q1 Conservative (respecting traditional ideas). Vs Experimenting (liberal, free-thinking).
Q2 Group dependent (a ‘‘junior’’ and sound follower). Vs Self-sufficient (resourceful, prefers own decisions).
Q3 Uncontrolled (careless of social rules, follows own urges). Vs Controlled (socially precise, exercising will power, compulsive).
Q4 Relaxed (tranquil, unfrustrated, composed). Vs Tense (frustrated, drive, overwrought).

These 16 basic or source trait dimensions were named as factors. They can describe and measure one’s personality.

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