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What Are Cardinal Traits?

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Definition:

According to psychologist Gordon Allport, personality is composed of three types of traits: cardinal traits, central traits, and secondary traits. Cardinal traits are those that dominate personality to the point that people are famous for them.

Allport believed that personalities dominated by one central trait are rare, with most people exhibiting a number of central traits. People with such personalities often become so known for these traits that their names are often synonymous with these qualities. Consider the origin and meaning of the following: Freudian, Machiavellian, narcissism, Don Juan, Christ-like, etc.

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