Trait Constructs


Some psychologists have suggested that while individuals tend to use traits to describe themselves and others, this merely tells us something about the cognitive functioning of individuals and about their interpersonal perceptions– it does not tell us that traits represent the best tools for the scientific analysis of personality. How important is the fact that the layperson finds the trait a useful construct? If we accept the importance of the layperson’s use of this construct for theory development, does this also commit us to accepting the specific trait names and categorizations used by the layperson (e.g., honest, aggressive, sympathetic)?


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