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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2006 Nov;32(11):1482-96.

The effect of age and role information on expectations for big five personality traits.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61829, USA.


In four studies, the authors investigated the extent to which expectations for personality traits in age-graded roles correspond to patterns of personality trait change across the life course. In Studies 1 (N = 43) and 2 (N = 126), the authors examined the age-graded roles of high school student, college student, parent, and grandparent and found that expectations for how people behave in these age-graded roles showed strong parallels to the documented pattern of personality trait development and that this pattern of expectations was largely shared by younger and older participants. In Studies 3 (N = 252) and 4 (N = 123), the authors separated age and role information (e.g., marital, parental, and employment status) and found that people use both sources of information independently in forming expectations of others. The implications for understanding the interplay of expectations and personality trait development are discussed.

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