FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY (Raymond Cattle) Core Concepts

personality psychology  FACTOR ANALYTIC TRAIT THEORY (Raymond Cattle) Core Concepts

1- Factor Analysis

2- Biographical Sketch

3- The Nature of Personality

4 – A Structure of Traits

ix) Unique traits
x) Common traits
xi) Surface traits
xii) Source traits
xiii) Constitutional traits
xiv) Environmental traits
xv) Ability and Temperament
xvi) Dynamic

4- Important Dynamic Traits

The important dynamic traits, in Cattell’s system, are of three kinds: iv) Attitudes, v) Ergs vi) Sentiments—Self

5-Major Sources of Data About Personality

In Cattell’s view, there are three major sources of data about personality:

1- The Life Record, or L- Data;

2- The Self-Rating Questionnaire, Q-Data;

3- The Objective Test or T-Data

6-The Specification Equation What is personality ?

According to Cattle personality is that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given

situation. R = f (P,S)

7- The Development Of Personality

8- Heredity-Environment Analysis

9- Search Methods

iv) R-Technique and P-Technique

v) Sixteen Personality Factors (16PF)

vi) Culture Fair Intelligence Tests

10- Summary

11- Evaluation

6- The Specification Equation

What is personality?

According to Cattle personality is that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation. R = f (P,S) In this formula R is person’s reaction, f is the function, P is the person’s personality, S is the situation, now

how a person behaves is a function of both the person’s personality and the given situation. where are the traits ? They are within the person. Now it becomes clear to predict a persons behavior we

must know what traits he posses and how important they are to situation of interest. Cattle calls it the specification equation. Pj = sjaA…+ sjtT …+ sjeE….+ sjmM….+ sjrR….+ sjsS

Pj = Performance in a Situation

A= Ability Traits

T = Temperament Traits

E = Ergic Tensions Present

M = Meta Ergs (sentiments and attitudes)

R = temporary body states fatigue, illness. anxiety

Sj= A weight or loading indicating the importance of each of the above influences in

situation j. This formula simply restates that if you want to know how a person will react to a situation list all his traits and weigh each one of them in terms of their relevance. For example if a person is in problem solving situation, the ability trait of intelligence will be given great weight or a high factor loading as compared to other traits.

7- The Development of Personality

Personality development is the result of motivation and learning. Motivation is responsible for many changes in perceptual and behavioral capacities.

Cattell distinguishes at least three kinds of learning that play important roles in personality development.

1- Classical-(Respondent)

2- Instrumental (Operant)

3- Structured ( Integration)

The first two are the familiar classical and instrumental (operant) conditioning of the experimental psychologist. Cattell’s treatment of these is fairly conventional: classical conditioning is held to be of importance in attaching emotional responses to environmental cues and instrumental conditioning for establishing means to the satisfaction of Ergic goals. Instrumental conditioning plays a substantial role in building up the dynamic lattice, which, it will be recalled consists of subsidiation (that is, means-end) relations (attitudes and sentiments serve as the means of achieving ergic goals). A form of instrumental conditioning of special interest in personality learning is what Cattell calls confluence learning, in which a behavior or attitude simultaneously satisfies more than one goal. Thus one attitude comes to be linked to several sentiments, and one sentiment to several ergs, giving the dynamic lattice its characteristic structure.

The third kind of learning is called integration learning. It appears to be essentially a more elaborate form of instrumental learning. In integration learning, the individual learns to maximize total long-term satisfaction by expressing some ergs at any given moment and suppressing, repressing, others. Integration learning is a key aspect of the formation of the self and superego sentiments.

According to Cattell, personality learning is best described as a multidimensional change in response to experience in a multidimensional situation. A way of studying personality learning empirically is by means of a procedure called adjustment path analysis. One begins with two things: first, with information about trait changes occurring in a number of people, possibly in response to a period of ordinary life adjustments; and second, with a theoretical analysis of various possible paths of adjustment (such as regression, sublimation, fantasy, neurotic symptoms) that people may take in response to conflict life situations.

8- Heredity-Environment Analysis

Cattell has for a number of years been actively interested in assessing the relative weight of genetic and environmental influences on source traits. He has developed a method for this purpose, which he calls Multiple Abstract Variance Analysis, or MAVA (1960). MAVA involves gathering data on the resemblances between twins and siblings reared together in their own homes or adopted into different homes, and then analyzing the data to estimate the proportions of individual variation on each trait that are associated with genetic differences, with environmental differences.

9- Research Methods

1- A Factor-Analytic Study of a Single Individual

In the personality research area Cattell employs his favorite tool of factor analysis in it, to a study of the dynamic traits of a single individual.

In the preceding section the distinction was drawn between R-technique and P-technique. In the R-technique the usual factor-analytic procedure, correlations are calculated over many persons, and the factors obtained are common traits. In P-technique, however, the correlations are calculated over many repeated measurements on a single person, and the factors can represent unique traits of that individual.

2- His most important distinction is between surface traits and source traits. Surface traits are those that are actually measured and are, therefore, expressed in overt behavior of some kind. Source traits are those that are the underlying causes of overt behavior. He feels that most people have about sixteen source traits.

Cattle with Saunders and Stice, constructed his famous Sixteen Personality Factors or 16 PF (1950). This test has been widely used in predicting vocational and academic success and failure.

3- The most important ability trait is intelligence of which Cattell describes two kinds. Fluid intelligence is general problem-solving ability and is thought to be genetically determined. Crystallized intelligence is the cumulated knowledge of the kind learned in school and is thus gained through experience. He developed the Culture Fair Intelligence test which is designed to measure fluid intelligence.

10- Summary

1- Cattell’s approach to the study of personality first measures a large group of individuals in as many ways as possible. The measures then are intercorrelated and displayed in a correlation matrix. The measures that are moderately or highly correlated are thought to be measuring the same attribute. This procedure is called factor analysis, and the attributes it detects are called factors or traits Cattell describe a number of different kinds of traits. For example, he feels that common traits are possessed only by a specific individual.

2- Unlike Allport, Cattell is mainly concerned with common traits. His most important distinction is between surface traits and source traits. Surface traits are those that are actually measured and are, therefore, expressed in overt behavior of some kind. Source traits are those that are the underlying causes of overt behavior. He feels that most people have about sixteen source traits. Some source traits are genetically determined and are called constitutional traits. Other source traits are shaped by one’s culture and are called environmental mold traits.

3- Cattell also distinguishes among ability, temperament, and dynamic traits. Ability traits determine how well a task is performed. The most important ability trait is intelligence of which Cattell describes two kinds. Fluid intelligence is general problem-solving ability and is thought to be genetically determined. Crystallized intelligence is the cumulated knowledge of the kind learned in school and is thus gained through experience.

-Temperament traits are constitutional and determine a person’s emotional make-up.

Dynamic traits are those that set the person in motion toward a goal; in other words, they determine a person’s motivational make-up. Cattell distinguishes two categories of dynamic traits: ergs and meta-ergs. Ergs are roughly equivalent to instincts, biological needs, or primary drives. Meta-ergs are learned drives, divided into sentiments and attitudes. Sentiments are predispositions to act in certain ways to classes of objects or events. Attitudes are specific responses to specific objects or events. Since ergs are at the core of one’s motivational patterns, sentiments are said to be subsidiary to ergs, and since attitudes are dependent on sentiments, attitudes are said to be subsidiary to sentiments.

5- Cattell’s describes the relationship among ergs, sentiments, and attitudes.

6- The fact that humans almost inevitably take indirect routes to satisfy ergic tensions is referred to as long –circuiting.

7- To explain how personality develops, Cattell postulates three kinds of learning: classical and instrumental conditioning and structured learning. The last is by far the most important kind of learning since it involves a change in one’s entire personality. Cattell exemplifies structured learning by showing what happens at a number of choice points following the arousal of ergic tension. A series of such choice points is called dynamic crossroads.

Prediction is made by including as much information about a person as possible in a specification equation.

Cattell’s theory is probably the only theory of personality that employs a research technique as complicated as that which it is designed to study. He has been praised for his scientific approach to the study of personality and criticized by those who feel certain human attributes are not quantifiable.

11- Evaluation

1- Cattell’s theory, like most theories of personality, has received mixed reviews. On the positive side, many feel that too much personality research has been unscientific, and therefore Cattell’s effort to quantify personality is most welcome. There is no doubt that Cattell has been a careful researcher in one of psychology’s more complex areas. His use of factor analysis has necessitated the clear and unambiguous definition of his concepts.

2- However, as one may expect, there are those who look upon Cattell’s attempt to quantify personality as negative rather than positive, saying that scientific method is not appropriate to the study of human attributes.

Allport was disturbed by Cattell’s emphasis on groups rather than on individuals\. Allport felt that Cattell’s method yielded average traits which no individual actually possessed.

An entire population (the larger the better) is put into the grinder, and the mixing is so expert that what comes through is a link of factors in which every individual has lost his identity. His dispositions are mixed with everyone else’s dispositions. The factors thus obtained represent only average tendencies. Whether a factor is really an organic disposition in any one individual life is not demonstrated. All one can say for certain is that a factor is an empirically derived component of the average personality, and that the average personality is a complete abstraction. This objection gains point when one reflects that seldom do the factors derived in this way resemble the disposition and traits identified by clinical methods when the individual is studied intensively. (Allport 1937, P.244)

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