A trait is an aspect or dimension of personality which consists of a group of related and consistent reactions characteristic of a person’s typical adjustment. Traits are learned tendencies that enable the individual to evaluate a situation or situations in a predictable way. The ability to evaluate a situation in a predictable manner means that the person will always react to such similar situations in a more or less successful way.
Thus since the persons ways of reactions are learned, each new reaction is influenced by the success has had in the previous adjustments to similar reactions. However, while traits are predictable, they are not automatic acts which occur in exactly the same form every time they are aroused by the concept of self. After an act takes place, there is a feedback to the nervous system and in future a trait will never be manifested precisely in the same way it was previously. The slight changes are not significant though. There will always be a considerable consistency in a person’s mode of behavior which will be seen as “characteristics” of him.
Traits are the product of learning; they are based on hereditary foundations which influence the form a trait will take. The intellectual capacity of a person for example is to some extent determined by his hereditary endowment, hence it influences the way he perceives a situation and how he learns to react to it.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TRAITS.
Every trait has three characteristic:
• A degree of likeableness
Uniqueness- means that a person has a certain quality or a particular behavior. People have common traits but individuals differ in terms of quality and quantity that are attributed to them.
Likeableness- the characteristics manifested by people are either liked (socially approved) r disliked by general population. Such traits as honesty, generosity, trustworthiness are liked while rudeness, cruelty and selfishness are disliked. The positive or the negative attitudes towards these traits result from cultural/social learning situations in a given cultural group. They are liked or disliked because they contribute to the social harmony or disharmony.
The person who manifests liked traits is bound to be pleasant person to b with, who interacts well with others and is likely to have a positive self concept. On the other hand the person who manifests disliked traits will be uncooperative, and will have poor social interaction qualities.
Consistency- this means that a person is expected to behave in approximately the same way in similar situations. The term consistency however, is relative. A person may be punctual in situations where punctuality gives him satisfaction but not in situations where being on time is unimportant to him. When we define personality we say that; personality is flexible, and is neither permanent nor rigid.