Based on the Trait/Cognitive theoretical perspective compare Stable vs. Dynamic

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Based on the trait/cognitive theoretical perspective, personality attributes can be classified as either central, secondary, or cardinal if we use the theoretical paradigm proposed by George Allport. In Costa's and McCrea's five factor model (FFM), personality can be universally classified under OCEAN, meaning that humans are, in general, either O=open, C=Conscientious, E=extraverted, A=Agreeable, or N= Neurotic. Another personality theory, proposed by Raymond Cattell, argues that there are 16 factors that mold personality.

Regardless of the differences between one theory and another, the unifying fact is that personality traits are, both, inherited and environmentally infused as a result of social learning. This foundation helps to understand how people react to situations, and what is to be expected of specific personality types.

Trait theory explains a stable personality as a set of acquired traits passed down from generation to generation, or learned by social mimicry, where the individual has a tendency to maintain the same characteristics of manner and behavior. Stable personalities often stick to a specific conduct as a safety mechanism that makes them predictable. People often considered "stubborn", or "square" for their refusal to change basically want to maintain their personalities the way that they are either because they draw benefit from it, or because they cannot help themselves. This is where determinism comes into play, serving as the agent that may prevent people from changing behaviors. Conditioning is the best way to counteract pre-determined behaviors.

Likewise, dynamic personalities are flexible, multifaceted, malleable, and willing to adapt to an environment. When it comes to social evolution,  the dynamics are often the fittest and the strongest in unpredictable situation because of their willingness to accept challenges. Current research by the British Psychological Society has presented the debate of the "traits model of leadership": whether leadership and success are born within an individual, or if both can be socially acquired. The argument arises from the never-ending antithesis of nature versus nurture, which assumes that either biology or society are the ultimate molds of human personality.

In all, the influence of genetics certainly defines our personality and may give us a tendency to be either stable or dynamic. However, as people acquire skills and confidence, inherent traits can become conditioned and may change as well.

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