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PSYB30H3 (478)
Chapter 6

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Marc A Fournier

Chapter 6 Continuity and Change in Traits the Roles of Genes Environment and Time The Continuity of Traits In everyday talk attributing a trait to someone assumes a certain unspecified degree of continuity over time trait can last a week or even for the rest of someones lifeTwo types of continuity 1 Absolute continuity constancy in the quantity or amount of an attribute over timehow much of a trait did someone show from one period to the nextThis concept never applied to single individual it is usually understood in terms of group averages on a given trait Determined by comparing test scores from both times of measure The issue of absolute continuity comes into important play when personality psychologists consider certain hypotheses and expectations about human development traits such as anxiety insecurity and rebelliousness may only be a trait in adolescence because some developmental theories suggest that adolescence is a time of confusion and anxiety for many people but things settle down in adulthood 2 Differential continuity the consistency of individual differences within a sample of individuals over time to the retention of an individuals relative placement in a groupContinuity relative to peers may be less anxious as adult but still most anxious among peers Low differential continuity correlation suggests that people change relative to one another over time on a given dimension but does not tell us in what direction people change Absolute and differential continuity are totally unrelatedAbsolute continuity refers to consistency of the average score on a given trait over timeDifferential continuity refers to the stability of individual differences in scoresExample of high absolute and high differential continuity socially dominant Still most socially dominant among peersExample of high absolute and low differential continuity still socially anxious but no longer anxious among peersExample of low absolute and high differential continuity less socially anxious but still most anxious among peersExample of low absolute and low differential continuity incomeamount people make from one period to next differ Amount people make relative to each other differ from one period to the nextDifferential continuity in the adult yearsLongitudinal studies show remarkably high differential continuity in personality traits over the adult lifespan
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