Trait Theory versus Socio-cultural Theory
“Trait theory” holds that people are born with the characteristics/traits that they now exhibit (Syque, 2007). On the other hand, “Socio-cultural theory” holds that one’s characteristics/traits are acquired through “social interaction” (Moll, 1994).
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“Trait theory” holds that individuals are born with characteristics that are inherited (Syque, 2007). There are several types of “trait theory” and these are the following: 1) “Sheldon’s Somatotype Theory”, which actually claims that “the person’s body shape is highly related to their personality” (Ticao, 2001); 2) “Allport’s Trait Theory” is technically defined as the “dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his characteristic behavior and thought” (Ticao, 2001). In fact, in his book there are about “eighteen thousand words to describe an individual’s personality” (Ticao, 2001); and last but not least 3) “The Five Factor Model” which is known as “Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness” (Ticao, 2001).
On the other hand, “Socio-cultural theory” holds that “one’s trait is developed through social interaction” and that this “social interaction leads to continuous step-by-step changes in children’s thought and behavior that can vary greatly from culture to culture” (Moll, 1994). Explaining further, a certain trait is developed when an individual emulates another person or what is technically referred to as “imitative learning” (Moll, 1994). Moreover, one can learn a particular characteristic if he or she is given instructions to do so or what is technically referred to as “instructed learning” (Moll, 1994). In addition to that, an individual can acquire a certain characteristic/trait is through what is technically referred to as “collaborative learning”, wherein individuals are grouped together to be able to “learn a specific skill” (Moll, 1994).
Moll, L.C. (1994). Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implications and Applications
of Sociohistorical Psychology. NY: Cambridge University Press.
Syque. (2007). Trait Theory. Retrieved December 21, 2007 from
Ticao. (2001). Introduction to Psychology. Quezon City: UP Press.