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J Res Pers. 2015 Jun 1;56:82-92.

Whole Trait Theory.

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1
Wake Forest University.

Abstract

Personality researchers should modify models of traits to include mechanisms of differential reaction to situations. Whole Trait Theory does so via five main points. First, the descriptive side of traits should be conceptualized as density distributions of states. Second, it is important to provide an explanatory account of the Big 5 traits. Third, adding an explanatory account to the Big 5 creates two parts to traits, an explanatory part and a descriptive part, and these two parts should be recognized as separate entities that are joined into whole traits. Fourth, Whole Trait Theory proposes that the explanatory side of traits consists of social-cognitive mechanisms. Fifth, social-cognitive mechanisms that produce Big-5 states should be identified.

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