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The word trait has interlocking meanings:
- In biology and genetics trait refers to features of organisms.
- In psychology, it refers to a component of personality as defined by Trait theory.
A trait is a prominent psychological aspect of a person that is stable across situations. Such a behaviour, emotion, or pattern of thinking may have been learnt and this becomes part of character. Some traits may be biological in origin and are said to be traits of temperament. Both sets of traits go to define personality.
How traits occur together is the subject of trait theory
Traits are distingiuished from transient states by their durability. So for example trait anxiety is an ongoing predisposition to anxiety across time and situations and is contrasted with state anxiety which is ephemeral.
Traits are also used to describe the characteristics of a person or thing. They usually refer to the dominant and recessive traits which are found in each being. The certain traits in which one can inherit are found by using a Punnett Squares, a table which shows the traits of parents and the possible outcomes that could occur. Every one of the beings outcomes/traits are different from the parents, siblings, etc. This is why no two beings are the same.
- Trait anxiety
- Trait Centrality
References & Bibliography
Allport, Floyd H. & Allport, Gordon W. (1921). Personality traits: Their classificiation and measurement. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 16, 6-40. Full text
Allport, Gordon W. (1927). Concepts of trait and personality. Psychological Bulletin, 24, 284-293. Full text