Explain the key concepts of Cattell’s theory of personality

Explain the key concepts of Cattell’s theory of personality


Raymond Cattell was born in 1905 and died in 1998. He was educated in Britain
and he obtained his doctorate from University of London and after which he
worked as director, child guidance clinic for 5 years. He came to the US to work
with E.L.Thorndike and developed officer selection methods. He established an
Institute for Personality and Ability testing. He taught at University of Illinois for
30 years and more and went to Hawai in 1978 and until death he was teaching
in the University of Hawaii. Cattell thought that clinicians observations were
not a scientific basis for understanding or classifying personality. He used
inductive method of scientific inquiry to develop his theory of personality. That
is, he gathered large amount of data and used factor analysis on the data
looking for clusters. For Cattell personality was that which permitted a
prediction of what a person will do in a given situation.

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The underlying basic factors of a person’s personalities was termed by him as source traits.

He usedfactor analysis and found common clusters of surface traits. These clusters
were termed by Cattell as Source traits. He gathered data about the individual
from the liferecord etc., took self reports and used the Questionnaire data and
used tests and obtained test results which all put together with source traits
gave the personality of an individual. Cattell has identified 35 primary traits of
which 23 characterised normal individuals and 12 characterised abnormal
individuals. He developed a scale called 16 PF which was designed to assess 16
different source traits associated with normal behaviour. Cattell said that
humans are innately driven by ergs, which means goals were created because
of hunger, curiosity, anger, fear, or other basic motivations which are found in
both humans and primates. Cattell distinguished two types of intelligence viz.,
(i) Fluid intelligence (ii) Crystallised intelligence. According to him, Fluid
intelligence allows the persons to learn new things regardless of past
experience, whereas the crystallized intelligence is the ability to solve problems
based upon previous experience. Cattell believed that intelligence was
primarily an inherited trait. Cattell was of the view that personality has to be
considered in terms of not only traits but also various other variables including
attitudes. Cattell defined attitude as the desire to act in a specific way in
response to a specific situation. Attitudes are interconnected within the
Dynamic lattice, that is dynamic lattice is Cattell’s attempt to display graphically
his theoretical analysis of the relationship between the mind’s instinctive
driving forces and their overlying semantic and attitudinal superstructure. The
specific attitudinal connections within the dynamic lattice are controlled by
susidiation chains, that is some attitudes are subordinate to other attitudes.
The subsidisation chain helps determine when specific attitude will produce a
specific behaviour

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