Chapter 7, ‘Trait, type and temperament’, starts by arguing that examining the nature of dramatic character of necessity involves looking at daily life personality. The chapter, therefore, asks whether non-specialists (actors among them) can legitimately use the tools of scientific psychology, and describes recent research challenging old assumptions based on a “dogma of complexity”’ (Allik et al.). Thereafter, the chapter draws on classical psychology as well as recent experiments to examine three main concepts in the scientific psychology of personality (or ‘individual difference’):

Personality traits: whether these can or cannot be considered stable.

Type: the means of grouping those sharing similar traits.

Temperament: describing traits set at the very beginning of life by genetic or epigenetic factors.

The chapter describes the Five Factor Model (FFM), the prevalent contemporary model of personality, and suggests that its features and terminology might also provide useful tools for the analysis of dramatic character (examples from plays are provided against its overarching categories). The chapter concludes by pointing out that scientific concepts can usefully be deployed to describe character, but less so for actors seeking to understand character motivations and drives. For these, the book turns to psychoanalytic perspectives (Chapter 8).