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Central Traits Versus Peripheral Traits

Definition

A central trait is an attribute in someone's personality that is considered particularly meaningful, in that its presence or absence signals the presence or absence of other traits. For example, if a person has a warm personality, it usually means that he or she is also friendly, courteous, cheerful, and outgoing—among many other possible traits. A peripheral trait is one whose presence or absence does not imply many other characteristics. For example, if a person is sarcastic, it might imply that he or she is cynical about the world or has a dark sense of humor—but not much else.

Usage and Implications

The notion of central versus peripheral traits appears emerges in three related, but separate, areas of psychology.

Descriptions of Personality

The first usage of these terms crops ...

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