Complete a Big Five Trait personality inventory to examine your trait profile. There are a variety of trait personality tests available online; I recommend either the “Big Five Personality Inventory" ( or “All About You" ( After completing the on-line personality test, reflect on your scores for the “Big Five” traits. Based on your reflections, do you think five traits are adequate to provide a description of an individual's personality?

As a follow-up, I would like you to complete a "mini-study" to address this question. Solicit the help of three or four close acquaintances of a “target person” (all acquaintances must know the same target person). Ask these acquaintances to describe the “target person” in terms of general characteristics or traits. These descriptive terms should not be in terms of behavior (e.g., “She likes to pick fights”), but in terms of personal dispositions (e.g., “She’s aggressive”). Neither should the descriptions be physical attributes (e.g., “He has an athletic build”) nor should they be in terms of the acquaintance’s relationship with the “target person” (e.g., “She makes me laugh” or “I like him”) Acquaintances should not be told how many traits they should name. They should simply list descriptive adjectives that they feel others would also list. After you have gathered this data, group synonyms and then count the average number of central traits that others agree the “target person” possesses. You may be interested to find whether the average number of outstanding personal dispositions is approximately the same as the number of central dispositions hypothesized by Allport, namely five to eight. In other words, can individuals be consistently described by five to eight central dispositions? Raymond Cattell



Please post your findings. In addition, pose one follow-up question to the class and respond to the questions of at least TWO of your classmates.

    • 7 years ago
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