Psychology for Lawyers

understanding ourselves
temperment & dispositional traits


"Dispositional traits are those broad, nonconditional, decontextualized, generally linear and bipolar, and implicitly comparative dimensions of human individuality that go by such names as extraversion, dominance, friendliness, dutifulness, depressiveness, the tendency to feel vulnerable, and so on. . . . [T]traits are generally viewed as broad dimensions of individual differences between people, accounting for interindividual consistency and continuity in behavior, thought and feeling across situations and over time. At their best, dispositional traits speak to the overall style of a person's adjustment to and engagement of the social world---how a person does things, how a person typically thinks, how he or she usually feels about things in general. If the momentary constellation of any person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors make up his or her current state, then traits may be seen as the most common kinds of states that a person experiences across situations and over time. Personality traits provide a rough outline of human individuality, a first cut, a recognizable signature that a person tends to express in a range of situations (thought not in all) and over a relatively long period of time (through not necessarily forever).

—Dan P. McAdams & Jennifer L. Pals, A New Big five: Fundamental Principles for an Integrative Science of Personality, 61 (3) American Psychologist 204 (2006)


Dan P. McAdams & Jennifer L. Pals, A New Big five: Fundamental Principles for an Integrative Science of Personality, 61 (3) American Psychologist 204 (2006) [online text]

Big Five Personality Traits

Big Five Inventory (BFI)

An Introduction to the Five-Factor Model and its Applications
[Robert R. McCrae & Oliver P. John]

The 'Lawyer Personality' and the Five Factor Model: Implications from Personality Neuroscience
[Madeline Devson]

Understanding Lawyers: The Personality Traits of Successful Practitioners
[Jeff Foster, Larry Richard, Lisa Rohrer & Mark Sirkin]

Class Videos

Class Viewing 1: Jordan Peterson on the Big Five [49:36 mins.] [2017 Personality and Its Transformation Lecture (#14); begin presentation at 10:04 mins., end at 30:45 mins.] [introduction to the idea of personality and personality traits ("describable elements of your being")]

Class Viewing 2: The Big Personality Test [49:40 mins.] [audio with slides] [Science Oxford] [Jason Rentfrow is a Lecturer in Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge] [begin presentation at at 10:58 mins., with the basic introduction to the 5 traits, end presentation at 18:38 mins.]

Class Viewing 3: The Big 5 Personality Traits [8:13 mins.] [the five traits are introduced at 3:18 mins. and ends at 7:36 mins.] [relates the 5 traits to winning]

Class Viewing 4: The Big Five Personality Model [2:53 mins.]

Class Viewing 5: Big 5 Model [3:45 mins.]

Class Viewing 6: Introduction to the Five Factor Model of Personality [3:59 mins.]

Class Viewing 7: Understanding the Big Five Personality Traits With Examples [7:47 mins.]

Class Viewing 8: Myers-Briggs and the Big 5 [2:42 mins.]

Class Viewing 9: Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality [15:15 mins.] [Brian Little] [TED Talk]

Reference (Jordan Peterson & Personality Traits)

The Big Five Personality [Traits]
[4:55 mins.]

2017 Personality and Its Transformations

2017 Personality 14: Introduction to Traits/Psychometrics/The Big 5
[49:36 mins.]

2017 Personality 15: Biology/Traits: The Limbic System
[1:18:57 mins.]

2017 Personality 16: Biology/Traits: Incentive Reward/Neuroticism
[1:13:37 mins.]

2016 Personality and Its Transformations

2016 Personality Lecture 10: The Psychobiology of Traits
[1:19:19 mins.]

2016 Personality Lecture 11: The Psychobiology of Traits, Cont'd
[54:57 mins.]

2016 Personality Lecture 12: Gender Differences: Agreeableness and Other Traits: the Science
[1:14:26 mins.]

2016 Personality Lecture 13: Openness and Intelligence
[1:15:27 mins.]

2016 Personality Lecture 13: Conscientiousness: Industriousness and Orderliness
[1:15:45 mins.]

2015 Personality and Its Transformation

2015 Personality Lecture 14: Intro to Biology & Psychometrics
[1:22:44 mins.] [begin presentation at 1:02:43 mins.]

2015 Personality Lecture 15: Biology & Traits: Limbic System & Lower Order Goals
[1:20:33 mins.]

2015 Personality Lecture 16: Conscientiousness I--Industriousness & Disgust
[1:12:21 mins.]

2015 Personality Lecture 17: Agreeableness--Aggression & Empathy
[1:16:30 mins.]

2015 Personality Lecture 18: Openness--Creativity & Intelligence
[1:23:11 mins.]

2014 Personality and Its Transformation

2014 Personality Lecture 14: Psychometrics (Biology and Traits)
[1:08:02 mins.]

2014 Personality Lecture 15: Limbic System & Goals (Biology and Traits)
[1:18:53 mins.]

2014 Personality Lecture 16: Extraversion & Neuroticism (Biology & Traits)
[1:14:48 mins.]

2014 Personality Lecture 17: Agreeableness and Gender Differences
[1:17:35 mins.]


The Dangers of Being too Agreeable
[4:46 mins.]

Temperament and Politics
[4:26 mins.]

Web Resources

Measuring the Big Five Personality Domains


Contact Professor Elkins