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Working paper

Three-Dimensional Trait System: Binding together the main sources of diversity in personality traits

PsyArXiv. психология. The Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science, 2019
Why are there various personality traits and why are those traits revealed in widely-acclaimed models such as the Big Five?  The Three-Dimensional Trait System (3D-TRASY) states that any personality trait can be defined in terms of three basic sources.  The first source represents traits’ variability with regard to the brain’s functioning in terms of bottom-up and top-down processes.  The second source connects to positive (rewards) and negative (punishments) social reinforcements of the trait.  The third source reflects a multitude of situations in which a trait may unfold.  Thus, Extraversion can be defined as a proximate bottom-up positive while Conscientiousness is a distal top-down positive.  3D-TRASY provides a framework for formal, non-tautological definitions of traits; it provides explanations for various phenomena in trait research including the super-traits of Stability and Plasticity and the maturity principle of lifespan development.  3D-TRASY presumes that some traits can occasionally closely correlate and thus establish an amalgam, which exemplifies itself in Eysenckian Psychoticism and the Big-Five’s Agreeableness.  In the history of trait research, this amalgamation may explain controversies that would have facilitated emergence of novel models such as the Big Five or HEXACO.  The paper contains empirical demonstrations on how 3D-TRASY can explain apparently empirical artifacts.