A General & Powerful System for Assessing Temperament & Personality

Software for the PAD Temperament Scales
Details of the PAD Temperament Model and tests are given in the following paragraphs; however, it is important to first mention that software for administering, scoring, and interpreting the PAD Temperament Scales (Trait Pleasure, Trait Arousability, Trait Dominance) is now available and greatly simplifies administration, scoring, and interpretation of scores with these three scales. It runs on IBM compatible machines and, for each of the scales, provides (a) a total score, an equivalent percentile score, an equivalent z-score, and interpretation of scores for each person tested and (b) a database of scores for all individuals tested. The software also supplies scores for each of the eight temperament types listed below (e.g., exuberant, bored, anxious). It is easy to use and is password protected so that the Administrator can control access to the database of results. In this way, individuals being tested cannot have access to the results, unless the Administrator chooses to report such results to them.

Detailed Description of the PAD Temperament Software
Comparison of the PAD Temperament Model with the Big Five
Mehrabian (1996) reported studies comparing the PAD with the Big Five.
The PAD Temperament Model and Tests
A key article by Mehrabian (1996) contains the theoretical rationale plus a review of evidence on the PAD Temperament Model. The PAD Temperament Model is a very general descriptive system for the study of temperament and personality. The model is based on evidence showing that the following three nearly independent dimensions provide a general description of emotional states: pleasure-displeasure (P), arousal-nonarousal (A), and dominance-submissiveness (D). "Pleasure-displeasure" distinguishes positive versus negative emotional states, "arousal-nonarousal" refers to a combination of physical activity and mental alertness, and "dominance- submissiveness" is defined in terms of control versus lack of control (Mehrabian, 1995a). Within this descriptive system, experimental findings have shown, for instance, that, "angry" is a highly unpleasant, highly aroused, and moderately dominant emotional state. "Sleepy" consists of a moderately pleasant, extremely unaroused, and moderately submissive state, whereas "bored" is composed of highly unpleasant, highly unaroused, and moderately submissive components (Mehrabian, 1995a).

"Temperament" is distinguished from emotional states in that it refers to an individual's stable or lasting emotional characteristics (i.e., emotional traits or emotional predispositions). More precisely, temperament is an average of a person's emotional states across a representative variety of life situations. A set of three PAD temperament scales has been developed and shown to provide a reasonably general description of emotional traits or temperament (Mehrabian, 1987, 1991, 1995b, 1996).

The three basic dimensions of temperament in the PAD Model are Trait Pleasure-displeasure, Trait Arousability, and Trait Dominance-submissiveness. The relative predominance, across situations and over time, of a person's positive affective states over negative ones defines that person's Trait Pleasure-displeasure. Trait Arousability refers to the strength of an individual's arousal reactions to high-information (i.e., unusual, complex, or changing) situations. Stated somewhat imprisely, but simply, arousability indexes the strength of a person's emotional reactions to both positive and negative situations. Trait Dominance is defined in terms of characteristic feelings of control and influence over one's affairs and surroundings versus typical feelings of being influenced and controlled by situations and others.

A three-dimensional temperament space is defined by the three nearly independent PAD temperament traits. Various personality dimensions and/or measures are straight lines passing through the intersection-point of the three axes. Description of various personality scales is facilitated by dichotomizing each of the three temperament-space axes, as follows: +P and -P for pleasant and unpleasant, +A and -A for arousable and unarousable, and +D and -D for dominant and submissive, temperament, respectively.

The following labels were used to describe the resulting octants of temperament space (Mehrabian, 1987, 1991):

Extroverted, arousal seeking, exhibitionistic, nurturing, and affiliative persons are exuberant (i.e., pleasant, arousable, dominant). They differ, however, in terms of the weights of Trait Pleasure (P), Trait Arousability (A), and Trait Dominance (D) associated with each. Dependent persons are pleasant, arousable, and submissive. Anxious or neurotic persons are unpleasant, arousable, and submissive, whereas aggressive persons are unpleasant, arousable, and dominant (e.g., Mehrabian & O'Reilly, 1980; Mehrabian, 1995b). Mehrabian (1996) provided equations showing relationships of specific personality measures to the PAD temperament dimensions.

Comparison of the PAD Temperament Model with the Big Five
The Big-five personality factors were investigated using the Trait Pleasure-Arousability-Dominance (PAD) Temperament Model to assess overlap, and, specifically, similarities and differences, among the five dimensions. Results showed that Extraverts were primarily dominant and secondarily pleasant (Mehrabian, 1996). Agreeableness resembled dependency with pleasant, arousable, and submissive characteristics, but involved greater pleasantness. Conscientiousness included equal degrees of pleasant and dominant qualities. Emotional Stability involved almost equal degrees of pleasant and unarousable characteristics, lacking the important dominant feature in this trait. Sophistication was weighted primarily by dominant, and secondarily by arousable, characteristics. The PAD scales explained approximately 75% of the reliable variance in three of the factors (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness) that have been identified, albeit sometimes with differing labels, in alternative general approaches to personality description. PAD components of the Big-five factors helped explain the substantial overlap among the factors.

The PAD Temperament Scales
The PAD Temperament Model and its scales and equations are intended primarily for experimental use. In the event they are used in clinical or applied settings, it is strongly advisable that findings based on the scales and formulas be checked against additional data from alternative tests and interview materials.

Additional information:
More details on the PAD Temperament Model are given in the following documents:
Mehrabian, A. (1987). Eating characteristics and temperament: General measures and interrelationships. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1991). Outline of a general emotion-based theory of temperament. In J. Strelau and A. Angleitner (Eds.), Explorations in temperament: International perspectives on theory and measurement (pp. 75-86). Plenum Press, New York.

Mehrabian, A. (1995a). Framework for a comprehensive description and measurement of emotional states. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, vol. 121, pp. 339-361.

Mehrabian, A. (1995b). Relationships among three general approaches to personality description. Journal of Psychology, vol. 129, pp. 565-581.

Mehrabian, A. (1996). Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general framework for describing and measuring individual differences in temperament. Current Psychology, vol. 14, pp. 261-292.

Mehrabian, A., & O'Reilly, E. (1980). Analysis of personality measures in terms of basic dimensions of temperament. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 38, pp. 492-503.

Mehrabian, A. (2000). Beyond IQ: Broad-based measurement of individual success potential or "emotional intelligence." Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 126, 133-239.

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