Psychological Traits vs. Personality Type Theory

In order to successfully sell a product you have to know who to sell it to. Therefore, being able to accurately characterize consumers is a crucial goal of marketing and consumer behavior research. But interest in creating these characterizations exists outside just the marketing world: developing systematic ways of describing people and their personalities has been a goal of psychology from its early days. From the begining,  personality traits and personality types have been understood to serve different purposes in research. Over the years there have been many different theories regarding what personality is, how it arises and how we can categorize it. For example, Sigmund Freud was a proponent of psychodynamic theories, suggesting that personality is influenced by the unconscious and the progression through psychosexual stages, and B.F. Skinner advocated for behavioral theories that view personality as a result of individual interactions with the environment. One important (and ongoing) dichotomy in beliefs in this field is between type theory and trait theory. Like other theories in personality psychology, these two approaches attempt to systematically categorize people, but go about this goal in different ways.


Posted by Madeline Ford on Jun 12, 2013

personality psychology Traits and Scales Psychology and Marketing Research Methods


Psychology of Choice: How We Assess Risk When Buying Products

I started playing piano in first grade, and when I started, I was obsessed with piano. I loved the new instrument and couldn’t wait to get home from school to tinker with it and practice my newly learned pieces. Eventually, that fervent enthusiasm diminished and my mom struggled to get me to practice. She brought the matter up with my instructor who suggested an interesting solution: if I completed 15 minutes of practice on the pieces I was supposed to be working on, I could then choose to practice any of the songs in the book and show my instructor the following week. I ended up enthusiastically and diligently practicing for those 15 minutes, just so I could play what I wanted after. When I was being forced to practice, I had significantly less enthusiasm than when given the chance to exert my own will and choice. By giving me a choice about my actions, my teacher re-sparked my piano-playing interest. This phenomenon – that when given a choice of doing something, people are more likely to want to do that thing. The Psychology of Choice has important implications for marketing.


Posted by Madeline Ford on May 22, 2013

segmentation packaging pricing product-market fit target audience Nonconscious Motivations Research Traits and Scales Psychology and Marketing Research Methods


Why Psychological Traits Impact How Successful You’ll Be

When you ask a 9-year-old what they want to be when they grow up, the answers are often broad and vary from a firefighter, to an astronaut, to batman. But how might personality traits channel individuals into the careers they actually choose? Answering this question involves distinguishing between who people are and who people want to become. In other words, there is a difference between psychological traits (descriptors) and motivations. One can view the relationship between traits and goals as separate--meaningful traits represent who we are and goals represent who we want to become--or as linked--traits are and goals are intimately related constructs.


Posted by Madeline Ford on May 17, 2013

personality psychology Nonconscious Motivations Research Traits and Scales Research Methods


Carson Sandy joins the TipTap Lab Team!

At TipTap Lab, we love what we do and we love who we do it with. For this reason, we get really excited when a new member joins our team. This past weekend, we welcomed Carson Sandy to Boston as she visited the city for the first time.


Posted by Emily Dyess on May 14, 2013

personality psychology Traits and Scales Psychology and Marketing


Evolution of Personality: Environmental Variation

In last week’s blog post, I addressed the evolutionary genetics of personality and the genetic contributions to variation in personality traits. In this post, I would like to examine a different phenomenon, namely how the same genes can lead to different non-random variation in personality. If we want to understand how traits work as motivations, we need to understand how they evolved. Let’s briefly review some very simple models of how variation can link to genetics. In one model, variation in personality is due simply to people having different combinations of genes: People with gene A tend to be extroverts, while people with gene B tend to be introverts. This kind of model could represent what biologists call an obligate adaptation (a gene causes a trait in a fixed manner). However, people with the same genes may develop very different personalities if they are put in the same environment, through what is referred to as facultative adaptations (genes create mechanisms which develop in different ways in different environments, or different genes are turned on in different environments). Facultative adaptations are like “if-then” rules, as everyone tends to have the same genes; but if they develop in one environment, they create one characteristic (say, extraversion), and if they develop in another environment, they lead to another characteristic (say, introversion).


Posted by Madeline Ford on Apr 25, 2013

Nonconscious Motivations Research Traits and Scales Psychology and Marketing

Recent Posts


Follow Us