SAGE Journal Articles

Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.

Article 1: Gallagher, P., Fleeson, W., & Hoyle, R. H. (2011). A self-regulatory mechanism for personality trait stability: Contra-trait effort. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. doi:10.1177/1948550610390701


Learning Objective: 1 & 5

Summary: Abstract: 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.

Questions to Consider:

1. Contra-trait behaviors are behaviors that are at a level ______ one’s typical trait level. Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

  1. similar to
  2. hostile to
  3. sympathetic to
  4. different from

2. The results of this study suggest that the contra-trait effort mechanism involves ______. Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

  1. self-discipline
  2. self-regulation
  3. self-monitoring
  4. self-awareness

3. What do this study’s results indicate regarding contra-trait behaviors and personality stability? Do you agree or disagree? Why? Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Article 2: Hudson, N. W., & Fraley, R. C. (2016). Do people’s desires to change their personality traits vary with age? An examination of trait change goals across adulthood. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(8), 847–856. doi:10.1177/1948550616657598


Learning Objective: 1, 3, & 5

Summary: Abstract: Research suggests most people want to change their personality traits. Existing studies have, however, almost exclusively examined college-aged samples. Thus, it remains unclear whether older adults also wish to change their personalities. In the present study, the authors sampled 6,800 adults, aged 18 to 70, and examined the associations between age and change goals. Results indicated change goals were slightly less prevalent among older adults. Moreover, older adults expressed desires for slightly smaller increases in each trait. Nevertheless, these effects were small, and a minimum of 78% of people of any age wanted to increase in each big five dimension. These findings have implications for understanding people’s attempts to change their traits—and personality development more broadly—across adulthood.

Questions to Consider:

1. What does this research suggest as to why people want to change aspects of their personalities? Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

2. The fact that change goals slightly decrease across adulthood—both in terms of magnitude and prevalence—is consistent with research that people increase in ______. Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

  1. maturity
  2. trait stability
  3. self-esteem
  4. self-efficacy

3. Why do older adults also desire lesser changes to their traits, as compared with younger individuals? Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Article 3: Church, A. T., Katigbak, M. S., Ortiz, F. A., Del Prado, A. M., De Jesús Vargas-Flores, J., Ibáñez-Reyes, J., . . . Cabrera, H. F. (2005). Investigating implicit trait theories across cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 36(4), 476–496. doi:10.1177/0022022105275963


Learning Objective: 1, 3, 4, & 5

Summary: Abstract: Implicit trait and contextual theories encompass lay people’s beliefs about the longitudinal stability (vs. instability) of traits; the cross-situational consistency (vs. variability) of behavior; the ability to predict (vs. not predict) individuals’ behavior from their traits; the ability to infer traits from few behavioral instances (vs. the difficulty of doing so); and the importance of traits in understanding people (vs. the greater importance of contextual factors such as roles and relationships). Implicit trait and contextual beliefs were investigated in two individualistic cultures, the United States and Australia, and two collectivistic cultures, Mexico and the Philippines. Hypotheses based on an integration of trait and cultural psychology perspectives were supported. The structure of implicit beliefs replicated well, and trait beliefs predicted judgments about cross-situational consistency of behavior in all four cultures. Implicit trait beliefs were stronger, and implicit contextual beliefs weaker, in the United States as compared to Mexico and the Philippines.

Questions to Consider:

1. How did the results differ in the two different cultures regarding implicit trait and contextual beliefs? Cognitive Domain: Analysis

2. The United States and Australia are among the most ______ cultures. Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

  1. industrialized
  2. individualized
  3. innovative
  4. independent

3. Several theorists have hypothesized that people in ______ cultures have stronger implicit beliefs regarding the “traitedness” of behavior. Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

  1. collectivist
  2. individualistic
  3. syncretic
  4. autonomous