The Trait Model of Personality

A trait is a characteristic that enables human beings to act and behave differently. The trait model is an important area of interest when studying personality. The trait model of personality strictly majors in differences between human beings, unlike other personality models. A personality is formed through the combination and interaction of different traits that are unique to an individual. The trait model also measures the individual characteristics tied to a specific person. Some theorists used the trait model of personality to develop a model of personality. An example of a theory is “Eysenck’s 3 Dimensions of Personality”.The Big Five theory also measures where the individual traits lie in the range of the five personality traits[CB1] .

Eysenck’s 3 Dimensions of Personality

            The general history of “Eysenck’s 3 Dimensions of Personality” is traced to Hans Eysenck. He was a psychology scholar in London and, after that, a psychologist and a recognized researcher. The theory of personality offered by Hans Eysenck was more incisive than that of Raymond Cattell, as it identified only three personality factors (Kelland, 2020). Eysenck found Cattell’s sixteen personality factors to be unreliable. Eysenck classified the sixteen factors to be primary factors where he saw the need to research further. He identified super factors instead of analyzing personality factors as being high order factors.

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            The three personality factors identified by Eysenck are extraversion or introversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. In extraversion, an individual directs attention to other people and the environment. Eysenck’s description of extraversion is somehow complex. He technically [CB2] defines extraversion as the general activity of an individual related to impulsiveness, sociability, frivolity, and overt sexuality (Kelland, 2020). He also notes that different external forces influence the factors mentioned above. For instance, Eysenck identifies that sociability is more likely to influence the individual’s environment while impulsiveness is more likely to be hereditary[CB3] . An introverted individual can be associated with quietness and being reserved. Such individuals keep things to themselves by directing attention to their inner experiences.

            The second personality factor discussed by Eysenck is the neuroticism factor. Neuroticism can be identified with emotional stability as it tends to be moody, upset, or emotional, all dealing with emotions and feelings. In neuroticism[CB4] , there is an intensity of reactions caused by emotions. Such reactions include hypochondria, feeling inferior, and lack of composure (Kelland, 2020). Neuroticism is an inherited characteristic because emotional reactions are traced from the autonomic nervous system (Kelland, 2020). When an individual is measured high in neuroticism, there is a possibility of suffering from neuroses[CB5] . However, Eysenck clarifies that neuroticism is not necessarily a negative factor but also a positive one. He gives an example where neuroticism can be positive in that a highly emotional person can benefit from activities such as creativity and aesthetic appreciation.

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            The third personality factor is psychoticism. The factor was identified after discussing and explaining the two factors: extraversion and neuroticism. Psychoticism is the least explained and heritable factor out of the three personality factors that Eysenck came up with (Kelland, 2020).  He added the psychoticism factor after closely studying mental illness patients. His study associated high scores in measuring psychoticism with children who have behavior and learning problems (Kelland, 2020). Such children are likely to be disliked by friends and teachers as they skip school, get involved in crimes and become loners. Those children do not seem to benefit from counseling even when they become adults. They do not also seem to benefit from traditional psychotherapies due to paranoid barriers. Additionally, children who score high in measuring psychoticism face problems dealing with reality, making them antisocial and hostile (Cherry, 2019). However, the behavior of such children can change depending on how they score in the other two personality factors.

The Big five theory

            The Big five theory was originally established by D. W. Fiske and later researched and expanded by other researchers. The personality differences of individuals are divided into five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Using the big five theory, people can compare their personalities to others and give names to their traits. The theory is also important in determining and understanding the relationship between personality and life indicators. Individuals can expect subsequent outcomes of physical health and general well-being. Knowing the big five theory also helps people become successful in professional, social, and academic setups.

            In conscientiousness, an individual is expected to regulate impulse control to be engaged in goal-oriented behaviors. Measuring conscientiousness involves traits such as behavior persistency and control (Lim, 2020). Scoring high in measuring tests for conscientiousness is beneficial to one’s living practices. When one scores high in conscientiousness, one has self-discipline that enables one to formulate and organize self-oriented goals while at the same time working towards achieving the set goals (The Big Five Personality Test, 2021). As a sub trait of conscientiousness, people who score high in conscientiousness prefer to have an orderly and dutiful life. However, people who score high in the personality test for conscientiousness are perceived as workaholics and sometimes perfectionists as they prioritize their work.

On the other hand, scoring low in conscientiousness will bring opposite results from those of high scores. An individual who scores low on the personality test for conscientiousness is disorganized and careless as they tend to procrastinate due to their indiscipline (Lim, 2020). Reflecting on the conscientiousness trait, I performed a personality test in which the results aligned with my personality. I scored high in the personality test, [CB6] which describes my personality of wanting things to be in order and doing things out of self-discipline and not external forces or pressure.


            Through extraversion, one can derive the sources where energy is acquired. Here, an individual interacts with the environment instead of keeping things in the inner self. Scoring high in the extraversion personality test means that an individual is outgoing, fun-loving, sociable, and decisive (Lim, 2020).  Such people feel comfortable being social, and therefore their lives rotate around sharing information and opinions with others. High scorers of extraversion tests also tend to become happy or energized when they are around people. When one scores low in the personality test for extraversion, one is referred to as an introvert.

On the contrary, introverts have a tendency to listen to others more than being listened which makes them quieter (Lim, 2020). To attain energy, introverts need alone time than being around people as that makes them feel exhausted. I did a personality test on extraversion[CB7] , of which I scored high. Initially, I knew I always wanted to be around people and could not stay alone without talking to others. Therefore, the score on the personality test was in alignment with my personality.

            Neuroticism is all about emotional stability. The personality trait also includes how one experiences types of emotions when interpreting events. Individuals who score high in neuroticism mostly pity themselves and feel insecure about almost everything in life, making them anxious (Lim, 2020). As a result, such individuals are exposed to low self-esteem and sadness. On the other hand, scoring low on neuroticism means that one is satisfied with life and thus feels calm and secure (Lim, 2020). Individuals who score low in the personality test for neuroticism also have high self-esteem. I scored low on the personality test for neuroticism which describes my personality as one who is self-satisfied. I can attest to the outcomes because I have no self-pity issues in life. I am also very confident with myself.

            Through openness, one has the motivation to try out new things. In the process of trying new things, one also becomes creative through imaginative activities. As the common mantra of some people says, “thinking outside the box,” openness enables one to implement the mantra. Individuals who score high in openness have great creative and artistic power as they prefer variety to be tied to one thing at a time (Lim, 2020). Additionally, their curiosity to know what surrounds them makes them enjoy learning new things through traveling. Individuals who score low on the personality test for openness are often associated with following routine (Lim, 2020). They prefer to live with what they already know than try new things. My personality test scored high as I love trying new things through adventures or friends.

            Agreeableness is associated with people who care about the feelings of others. Such people ensure that what they do does not hurt other people’s feelings. Due to their good gestures implied by their personalities, such people are liked and trusted by others. Individuals who score low in agreeableness are seen to be suspicious and uncooperative (Lim, 2020). In most cases, such people may appear to be antagonists, making people not like and trust them. I performed a personality test for agreeableness which came out to be high. The test aligned with my personality as I am a soft-hearted person who cannot intentionally harm people’s feelings.

            To sum up, the study of the trait model of personality is quite interesting to handle. Ideally, it is amazing how individuals can describe their personality traits through the personality models discussed. By simply performing a personality test, one can label their personality according to the different personality traits mentioned. Therefore, people should perform personality tests so that they can be aware of their personalities and which personalities they can change.