ASSUMPTION OF DISCRIMINATING TRAITS
The view that offenders are distinguished from non-offenders by, for example, their high levels of impulsivity and aggression. There is actually an assumption of discriminating traits. Traits are distinguishing qualities or characteristics of a person. Traits are a readiness to think or act in a similar fashion in response to a variety of different stimuli or situations.
In general, trait theory assumes that people differ on variables or dimensions that are CONTINUOUS. People are seen to differ in the AMOUNTS or QUANTITIES of a characteristic rather than differ in the QUALITY of their characteristics.
The term trait has several
Trait Theories of
Personality - Dr. C. George Boeree
Idiographic vs. Nomothetic
Idiographic: people have unique
personality structures; thus some traits (cardinal traits) are more important in
understanding the structure of some people than others
The Idiographic view emphasizes
that each person has a unique psychological structure and that some traits are possessed
by only one person; and that there are times when it is impossible to compare one person
with others. This viewpoint also emphasizes that traits may differ in importance from
person to person (cardinal, central and secondary traits). It tends to use case studies,
bibliographical information, diaries etc for information gathering.
Some examples where the term 'discriminating traits' have been used:
"All human bodies have the same basic proportions. Our height measures on the average 2.9 times the length of our thigh. Anthropometry has shown that one person can be distinguished from another with great precision when the measurements are derived from sufficiently discriminating traits."
"At 88% average accuracy, the most discriminating traits in whites were pubic bone shape and subpubic concavity form," - Patriquin M.L.; Loth S.R.; Steyn M. - in a paper on "Sexually dimorphic pelvic morphology in South African whites and blacks."
"In year 1, the project will identify highly discriminating traits between separate samples of Spanish-speaking Latino children three to nine years old with and without learning disabilities and with and without emotional disabilities, in order to determine how to recognize these disabilities in a 90- to 120-minute period."
"When such adaptations evolve, the discriminating traits are sexually selected for their signal value (as well as selected for functions they had prior to being valued by mate choosers)." - Steven W. Gangestad - From "Toward an Evolutionary Framework For Conceptualizing Social Inference Processes."