Lecture 10 - PSYC35
Trait stability and trait growth
- Industrialized societies afford people between the ages of 18 and 26 to reach immerging
adulthood; a period where you can reflect on your own development and create your own
person. There are large changes in demographics for people within this time span. We are
looking for continuity and change within this period. Maturity is known as the period of time
where your body does not undergo very many changes because it doesn’t need to.
- Differs in three regards (are all overcome in the DUNEDIN study:
o Nature of sampling. Unrepresented of sampling of the population. We sample
by convenience, usually university students.
o Low statistical power. We lower the participant sample sizes and this lowers the
statistical power to detect the effects we are interested in.
o Failure to broadly sample the desire of interest. We narrow things down to a
few traits and ignore other traits. Very few studies have looked at all traits
longitudinally and simultaneously.
- The MPQ provides good coverage of all the traits and their facets.
- Traits are not static. There are mechanisms that allow traits to change.
- Traits are better viewed in a developmental context.
- Higher order factors in the MPQ:
o Constraint: endorses social norms
o Negative emotionality: experiences elevated levels of negative emotion
o Agentic positive emotionality: seeks pleasurable experiences by engaging in the
o Communal positive emotionality: seeks pleasurable experiences by developing
- Differential continuity:
o Continuity and change are not two different categories. Occur at wither ends of
o Defined as the extent to which the relative rank orders of individuals is
maintained by individuals over time, as indexed by test-retest reliability. OR
stability of differences.
o Increases as a function of age and decreases as a function of time interval
between assessment points.
- The older you are the more predicable your personality traits are. Personality traits stay more
- The more time between time points, the less continuity there is. Measure at 20 and 60, there is
not really any stability and you see more evidence for change. If you measure between 60 and
70, there is more continuity.
- Mean-level change: the extent of change in the quantity of some attribute in a population over
time. To what extent, as a group, does a trait stay the same over time. - We tend to find:
o Mean-level increases in the behavioural constraint.
o Mean-level decreases in negative emotionality.
o Mixed findings for pos