A framework for the classification of personality components


Psychologists working within different theoretical traditions have proposed the existence of hundreds of personality components since the turn of the century. For example, psychoanalysts proposed such components as the id, ego, and superego, and trait theorists proposed such components as introversion and extraversion. Because each proposed component models a part of internal psychological functioning, it would make sense to combine the components into a single more meaningful set. Such components, however, are generally discussed only within the specific theoretical tradition in which they originated. This article presents a classification system that treats personality components together as a group. Personality components were first defined and then several hundred components were collected in a preliminary theory‐by‐theory classification. A new relational classification system was then developed that organized the components according to their interrelated nature, without regard to their originating theories. This classification system can be used to construct a relational table of personality components that is loosely analogous to a chemist's periodic table of the elements. The re‐lational classification system's potential contribution to personality psychology is discussed.



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Journal of Personality



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