Chapter 1: Defining Traits Next Chapter

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Defining Traits
Defining Traits
Robert R. McCrae

In common usage, ‘trait’ can refer to any relatively enduring feature of an individual, universal (e.g., sentient), physical (e.g., blue-eyed), or psychological (e.g., intelligent). In this chapter I will restrict the term ‘trait’ to certain individual differences in personality. To put such traits in perspective, it is useful to locate them within the broader category of individual differences. Figure 1.1 offers a hierarchical classification, in which individual differences divide first into extrapsychological variables (although still of great interest to psychologists), such as gender, age, and socio-economic status, versus psychological variables. The latter, at least from the perspective of Five-Factor Theory (FFT; McCrae and Costa, 2008), can be subdivided into acquired adaptations, such as ...

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