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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Jun;80(6):1011-27.

Toward a structure- and process-integrated view of personality: traits as density distribution of states.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109, USA. fleesoww@wfu.edu

Abstract

Three experience-sampling studies explored the distributions of Big-Five-relevant states (behavior) across 2 to 3 weeks of everyday life. Within-person variability was high, such that the typical individual regularly and routinely manifested nearly all levels of all traits in his or her everyday behavior. Second, individual differences in central tendencies of behavioral distributions were almost perfectly stable. Third, amount of behavioral variability (and skew and kurtosis) were revealed as stable individual differences. Finally, amount of within-person variability in extraversion was shown to reflect individual differences in reactivity to extraversion-relevant situational cues. Thus, decontextualized and noncontingent Big-Five content is highly useful for descriptions of individuals' density distributions as wholes. Simultaneously, contextualized and contingent personality units (e.g., conditional traits, goals) are needed for describing the considerable within-person variation.

PMID:
11414368
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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