Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 462
Personality traits/social psychology/Robinson/Sedikides: Personality traits could be assessed by aggregating across multiple observers (Funder 1991)(1) or across momentary samples of experience and behaviour in daily life (Epstein1983)(2). Yet, this is not common practice. Instead, researchers typically assess traits by asking people to self-report on their broad (i.e., ‘in general’) tendencies to think, feel and act in particular ways.
Likely, then, there is a close link between trait self-judgments and the global self-concept. This observation led Robinson and Clore (2002a)(3) to suggest that trait self-reports assess abstract or generalized self-views rather than those more closely tied to momentary experience and behaviour.
Corr I 463
1) Generalized self-views are more consistent with self-relevant stereotypes than are ratings obtained in experience-sampling protocols (e.g., women are more emotional than men: Barrett, Robin, Pietromonaco and Eyssell 1998)(4).
2) Amnesic, autistic or demented patients can make reliable and valid trait judgments about the self, despite a complete inability to recall specific trait-relevant experiences or behaviours (e.g., Klein, Loftus and Kihlstrom 1996)(5).
3) Reaction time paradigms converge on the point that ratings of the self ‘in general’ are made on a fundamentally different basis than are ratings of the self within more momentary time-frames (Robinson and Clore2002b)(6). In short, trait self-judgments tap generalized beliefs about the self somewhat independently of more momentary self-views (Robinson and Clore 2002a(3), 2002b(6)).



1. Funder, D. C. 1991. Global traits: a neo-Allportian approach to personality, Psychological Science 2:31–9
2. Epstein, S. 1983. Aggregation and beyond: some basic issues on the prediction of behaviour, Journal of Personality 51: 360–92
3. Robinson, M. D. and Clore, G. L. 2002a. Belief and feeling: an accessibility model of emotional self-report, Psychological Bulletin 128: 934–60
4. Barrett, L. F., Robin, L., Pietromonaco, P. R. and Eyssell, K. M. 1998. Are women the ‘more emotional’ sex?: evidence from emotional experiences in social context, Cognition and Emotion 12: 555–78
5. Klein, S. B., Loftus, J. and Kihlstrom, J. F. 1996. Self-knowledge of an amnesic patient: toward a neuropsychology of personality and social psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 125: 250–60
6. Robinson, M. D. and Clore, G. L. 2002b. Episodic and semantic knowledge in emotional self-report: evidence for two judgment processes, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83: 198–215


Michael D. Robinson and Constantine Sedikides, “Traits and the self: toward an integration”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Social Psychology
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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