Raymond Cattell - The 16 Personality Factors-trait approach-ETHICS UPSC
Born in 1905, Cattell witnessed the advent of many 20th-century inventions such as electricity, telephones, cars, and aeroplanes. He was inspired by these innovations and was eager to apply the scientific methods used to make such discoveries to the human mind and personality. Personality, he believed, was not just some unknowable and untestable mystery. It was something that could be studied and organized. Through scientific study, human characteristics and behaviours could be predicted based on underlying personality traits. Cattell worked with psychologist Charles Spearman, who was known for his pioneering work in statistics. Cattell would later use the factor analysis techniques developed by Spearman to create his own personality taxonomy.
The Trait Approach to Personality
Psychologists have long debated exactly how personality should be defined and described. One of these key ideas is known as the trait theory of personality. According to trait theory, human personality is composed of a number of broad traits or dispositions.
The 16 Personality Factors
Raymond Cattell analyzed Allport's list and whittled it down to 171 characteristics, mostly by eliminating terms that were redundant or uncommon. He then used a statistical technique known as factor analysis to identify traits that are related to one another. With this method, he was able to whittle his list to 16 key personality factors.
The following personality trait list describes some of the descriptive terms used for each of the 16 personality dimensions described by Cattell.
- Abstractedness: Imaginative versus practical
- Apprehension: Worried versus confident
- Dominance: Forceful versus submissive
- Emotional stability: Calm versus high-strung
- Liveliness: Spontaneous versus restrained
- Openness to change: Flexible versus attached to the familiar
- Perfectionism: Controlled versus undisciplined
- Privateness: Discreet versus open
- Reasoning: Abstract versus concrete
- Rule-consciousness: Conforming versus non-conforming
- Self-reliance: Self-sufficient versus dependent
- Sensitivity: Tender-hearted versus tough-minded
- Social boldness: Uninhibited versus shy
- Tension: Inpatient versus relaxed
- Vigilance: Suspicious versus trusting
- Warmth: Outgoing versus reserved