The "Big Five" describes five important personality traits, and the Myers-Briggs Test identifies a number of different personality types, but there are other important traits that have been studied by psychologists. Some of these traits include Gordon Allport's dispositions, Hans Eysenck's three fundamental traits, and Michael Aston and Kibeom Lee's six dimensional HEXACO model of personality structure. All of these theories discuss important personality traits that have been studied and identified.
Allport's Disposition Theory
Gordon Allport's disposition theory includes cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits.
American psychologist Gordon Allport wrote an influential work on prejudice, The Nature of Prejudice, published in 1979.
- Cardinal trait: A trait that dominates and shapes a person's behavior. These are the ruling passions/obsessions, such as the desire for money, fame, love, etc.
- Central trait: A general characteristic that every person has to some degree. These are the basic building blocks that shape most of our behavior, although they are not as overwhelming as cardinal traits. An example of a central trait would be honesty.
- Secondary trait: a characteristic seen only in certain circumstances (such as particular likes or dislikes that only very close friend might know). They must be included to provide a complete picture of human complexity.
Eysenck's Extroversion and Neuroticism Theory
Hans Eysenck rejected the idea that there are "tiers" of personality traits, theorizing instead that there are just three traits that describe human personality. These traits are extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. Extroversion and neuroticism provide a two-dimensional space to describe individual differences in behavior. Eysenck described these as analogous to latitude and longitude describing a point on the Earth. An individual could rate high on both neuroticism and extroversion, low on both traits, or somewhere in between. Where an individual falls on the spectrum determines her/his overall personality traits.
The third dimension, psychoticism, was added to the model in the late 1970s as a result of collaborations between Eysenck and his wife, Sybil B. G. Eysenck.
Aston and Lee's HEXACO Model of Personality
Aston and Lee's six-dimensional HEXACO model of personality structure is based on a lexical hypothesis that analyzes the adjectives used in different to describe personality, beginning with English. Subsequent research was conducted in other languages, including Croatian, Dutch, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Turkish. Comparisons of the results revealed six emergent factors. The six factors are generally named Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extroversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O). After the adjectives that describe each of these six factors were collected using self-reports, they were distilled to four traits that describe each factor.
- Honesty-Humility (H): Sincerity, Fairness, Greed Avoidance, Modesty
- Emotionality (E): Fearfulness, Anxiety, Dependence, Sentimentality
- Extroversion (X): Social Self-Esteem, Social Boldness, Sociability, Liveliness
- Agreeableness (A): Forgivingness, Gentleness, Flexibility, Patience
- Conscientiousnes (C): Organization, Diligence, Perfectionism, Prudence
- Openness to Experience (O): Aesthetic Appreciation, Inquisitiveness, Creativity, Unconventionality
These three personality trait theories, among others, are used to describe and define personalities today in psychology and in organizational behavior.