Major Themes & Underlying Assumptions of the Dispositional Approach to Personality
The dispositional perspective is the traditional, classic approach to the psychological study of personality.
Since at least the early Greek civilization, and probably far longer, it has been recognized that people are different not just physically, but also in profound psychological ways.
The dispositional approach creates systems for classification and describing psychological characteristics for which people differ consistently between situations and over time.
The “trait” approach most clearly
emphasizes the dispositional perspective but
another way to
Sometimes you see the terms
“dispositions”, “traits" and
"types" used interchangeably. However, personality
traits and types are really part of the broader
dispositional perspective on personality, albeit
the largest part.
Personality traits are:
Personality types refers to:
There are two major assumptions underlying a dispositional approach:
1. STABILITY of personality
People display consistency in their actions, thoughts, and feelings BETWEEN situations and OVER time. In other words, unpredictability is the exception rather than the rule (i.e. unpredictability doesn’t define the essence of personality). Note that some psychologists, such as social psychologists, would argue that too much emphasis is placed on the stability of personality. The idea behind this assumption is that YOU ARE THE SAME PERSON YOU USED TO BE AND WILL BE IN THE FUTURE.
2. DIFFERENCES between people.
The composition of dispositions varies from person to person. Each person’s personality consists of a pattern of dispositional qualities which form a unique combination in each person.
Major issues and topics related to the dispositional perspective include:
Eastman, R. (n.d.) The Dispositional Strategy. Stephen Austin State University.Sandberg, D. Dispositional Approach: Assessment, Personality Change, & Research. California State University - Hayward.