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Personality traits and states are the characteristics of a person's personality. Traits are permanent; states are temporary. However, traits can be changed; doing so, however, does not come naturally and requires much more work than changing states, which may be involuntary (e.g. feeling sad because you lost your money). Trait theory offers ideas as to how traits arise and are maintained.
There are a large number of traits that have been described and studied by psychologists. See List of personality traits
These are permanent characteristics. They are classified into three types:
This is a huge trait around which a person organises his/her entire life. People generally do not have more than one cardinal trait, if they have one at all.
These are smaller traits that most people would identify as 'what a person is like' in a non-psychology context. Examples would include affectionateness or loyalty.
These have the smallest influence on a person's life and include minor traits like preferences.
These are temporary characteristics; being in a 'bad mood' would be one, as a 'bad mood' is not a permanent characteristic.
States can sometimes eclipse traits; for example, a person who is normally cheerful might behave the opposite if he/she is in a 'bad mood'.
Also, traits can sometimes resemble states. For example, tendency to hold a grudge, a trait, would be increased if the person is in a bad mood (a state). The increased tendency to hold a grudge is a state as it will not stay on permanently after the person is out of his/her bad-mood state.
- Cognitive syle
- Coronary prone behavior
- Emotionality (personality)
- Emotional instability
- Emotional stability
- Five factor personality model
- Internal external locus of control
- Leadership qualities
- Need for cognition
- Repression senitization
- Risk taking
References & Bibliography
Key texts – Books
Additional material – Books
Key texts – Papers
Steyer, R. Schmitt, M. Eid, M.(1999). Latent State-Trait Theory and Research in Personality and Individual Differences. European Journal of Personality, Vol 13; 5, p 389-408. ISSN 0890-2070