A self-regulatory mechanism for personality trait stability: Contra-trait effort


Journal Article

Despite the considerable influence of situational factors and the resulting variability in behavior, individuals maintain stable average ways of acting. The purpose of the current research was to investigate one possible explanation for this stability. It was hypothesized that behaviors that are at levels different from the actor's average trait levels (contra-trait behaviors) demand more effort, or self-control, than do trait-typical behaviors. In Study 1, extraverted participants who acted at contra-trait levels reported their behaviors as more effortful, and this effect grew stronger over time. In addition, in a subsequent activity, observers rated extraverts who had acted contra-trait as behaving more extraverted, suggesting that fatigue from sustaining contra-trait behaviors may result in subsequent behaviors returning to trait-typical levels. In Study 2, participants reported on contextualized behaviors for 7 days and rated contra-trait behaviors as more effortful than trait-typical behaviors. This effect only held among nonhabitual behaviors, implicating self-control processes. © The Author(s) 2011.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gallagher, P; Fleeson, W; Hoyle, RH

Published Date

  • August 22, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 335 - 342

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1948-5514

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1948-5506

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1948550610390701

Citation Source

  • Scopus