Erikson’s theory of personality development asserts that people move through eight stages during their lives. Each stage brings a psychosocial crisis or conflict that needs to be resolved interactively. Each involves confronting a question such as, “Who am I and where am I going?” The stages are described above in terms of personality traits that are potential outcomes from handling these crises.
Traits are consistent emotional, cognitive, and behavioral predispositions that collectively reflect a person’s personality.
Traits can be assessed by . . .
Asking others about a person (e.g. rating scales)
Asking the person (e.g. questionnaires, personality projective tests, interviewing, etc.)
How many traits are there?
Allport identified 18,000 (?);
Cattell found 16 distinct traits;
Eysenck identified three core traits: extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism.
Are There “Basic” Traits?
Trait models analyze personality in terms of basic dimensions. McCrae and Costa maintain that personality can be described using five higher-order traits which are widely referred to as the “Big Five.”