Research Topic

Dynamic Personality Science. Integrating Between-person Stability and Within-person Change

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After 40 years of debate, trait theorists and social cognitive theorists have begun to integrate their respective descriptions and explanations of personality. The new framing of personality accommodates both between-person stability and within-person variability in personality. Whilst individuals differ in ...

After 40 years of debate, trait theorists and social cognitive theorists have begun to integrate their respective descriptions and explanations of personality. The new framing of personality accommodates both between-person stability and within-person variability in personality. Whilst individuals differ in predictable ways in their thoughts, feelings and behaviours - differences that can sufficiently be described along the five broad dimensions of neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness and extraversion - they also vary systematically in the way they respond to situations they encounter and change and develop over time.


The new integrated framing of personality raises many questions which now need to be the focus of research, such as What are main underlying within-person patterns and processes that give rise to between-person differences (i.e. traits) as described by the Big 5?, How can situations be conceptualised and categorised?, To what extent is personality malleable?, and, How can personality be developed via interventions?.


The aim of the Research Topic is to move this frontier forward on multiple fronts. We are interested in both conceptual work and applied research studying personality in work, educational and clinical contexts. This Research Topic welcomes contributions that investigate the following issues.


(1) Within-person units of personality. These are studies that investigate between-person differences in within-person effects, for example, studies that investigate contingent units of personality. Studies might be situated in the context of the Big Five (e.g. task-contingent units of personality (TCUPs) such as Task-Contingent Contentiousness) or focus on other dynamic traits.


(2) Within-person processes. Examples are studies that investigate within-person mechanisms underlying between-person differences, i.e. traits, as well as studies that model the within-person relationships between personality variables and relevant outcome variables (e.g., job performance).


(3) Comparisons of within-person and between-person structure and processes of personality. For instance, work on the within-person structure of personality, and investigations into whether a particular between-person finding applies to the individual.


(4) Malleability of personality both short- and long-term. Topics might include the trainability of personality, personality change in response to life events (e.g., work, schooling), and personality interventions for clinical and non-clinical samples (e.g., in educational, organisational settings).


(5) Relevance of an integrated approach beyond personality science. For example, studies that are concerned with the validity and usefulness of within-person units of personality in clinical, educational, and organisational settings.


(6) Cross-cultural studies, e.g., studies concerned with the cross-cultural validation of within-person findings and dynamic personality units.


(7) Psychologically relevant features of situations. Topics might include, approaches to the measurement of situational characteristics including other than self-report (e.g., virtual representations of situations), within-person stability of interpretations of situations, taxonomy of situational characteristics and setting-specificity of psychologically relevant situational features.


(8) Measurement considerations, e.g., related to the psychometric quality of experience sampling personality measures.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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