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PSY 405 Week 4 Learning Team Assignment Dispositional Personality Theories Matrix

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Running head: DISPOSITIONAL PERSONALITY THEORIES
1
Dispositional Personality Theories
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PSY 405
May 30, 2011
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DISPOSITIONAL PERSONALITY THEORIES
2
Dispositional Personality Theories
Why does one person respond in a different manner than another in the same exact
situation or scenario? The answer is rooted in the individual. The word “individual” describes a
person who is distinct from others in a group (Merriam Webster Dictionary, 2011). What
differentiates us as individuals are our physical attributes, traits, characteristics, motivations,
drives, and experiences, all of which are explained through different dispositional theories.
Allport’s Psychology of the Individual theory, believes each person is unique and to understand
an individual, it is important to understand the whole person, physiologically and
psychologically as he or she grows and changes throughout life. The Trait and Factor theory
assumes that personality can be measured by using a combination of testing, observation, and
opinions of individuals (Feist & Feist, 2009). Psychology of the Individual theory and the Trait
and Factor theory each influence the study of individual personalities with strengths and
limitations through their evaluation of the individual and his or her interpersonal relationships.
Dispositional Theories Affect on Individual Personalities
Gordon Allport played a vital role in the development of personality theories. His
psychology of the individual theory reflects his belief that each individual’s personality is
unique. According to his theory one’s personality is made up of personal dispositions, these
dispositions interact, and thus create that individuals personality. Allport identified specific
levels of dispositions that outline the level at which the personality is affected. The cardinal
dispositions are those characteristics that are most important and affect one’s personality greatly.
Some examples include being narcissistic and chauvinistic. Allport notes that not all individuals
have a cardinal disposition. The next level is comprised of central dispositions; these include the
characteristics that would be recognized by a close friend or family member and include things

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DISPOSITIONAL PERSONALITY THEORIES
3
like being outgoing or shy. Lastly, there are secondary traits and whereas these characteristics
do not necessarily have a large impact on one’s personality, they still can affect one’s behavior
(Feist & Feist, 2009).
Allport also studied the connection of one’s personality and behavior to that of one’s
motivation. He introduced a concept known as functional autonomy. This concept suggests that
individuals are not motivated by underlying reasons but by motives which are independent from
where the motive originated (Feist & Feist, 2009). This concept allowed Allport to stamp his
name on psychology and specifically the study of personality. All the concepts presented by
Allport demonstrate the effects of one’s personal dispositions on his or her own unique
personality.
In addition to Allport, several other theorists played an important role in the development
of personality theories. Those individuals include, Hans Eysenck, Raymond Cattell, Robert
McCrae and Paul Costa. The trait and factor theories presented by these individuals offered
added insight into how one’s personality traits can influence his or her individual personality.
Dispositional theories affect individual personalities in two ways. One, personality is consistent,
it is consistent across situations, and consistent over time. Two, Individuals are different, if one
is true, the difference between two individuals lies in the circumstances that elicit a response. In
factoring an individual’s personality, for example, I am an honest person, a person would assume
I am honest when faced with certain situations and a person would assume if I am honest at this
time then I would be honest years from now. “People can change and a particular personality
trait can manifest itself in different types of behavior” (Kowalski & Western, 2005, p. 443).
Meaning that some individual’s personality is consistent with the situation and some are not.
Eysenk's biological model of personality shows an individual who monitors his behavior is high

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