Measurable Like Temperature or Mereological Like Flocking? On the Nature of Personality Traits

Authors

  • Angélique O. J. Cramer,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Sophie van der Sluis,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    2. Complex Trait Genetics, Department Functional Genomics & Dept. Clinical Genetics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), FALW-VUA, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Center (VUmc), The Netherlands
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  • Arjen Noordhof,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Marieke Wichers,

    1. European Graduate School for Neuroscience, SEARCH, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, The Netherlands
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  • Nicole Geschwind,

    1. European Graduate School for Neuroscience, SEARCH, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, The Netherlands
    2. Research Group on Health Psychology, Centre for the Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology, University of Leuven, Belgium
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  • Steven H. Aggen,

    1. Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
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  • Kenneth S. Kendler,

    1. Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, USA
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
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  • Denny Borsboom

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Angélique Cramer, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

E-mail: angecramer@gmail.com

Abstract

Some commentators wholeheartedly disagreed with the central tenet of the network perspective on personality, namely that traits are the result of mutual interactions between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In this rejoinder, we primarily focus on these commentaries by (i) clarifying the main differences between the latent versus the network view on traits; (ii) discussing some of the arguments in favour of the latent trait views that were put forward by these commentators; and by (iii) comparing the capacity of both views to explain thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Some commentators were by and large positive about the network perspective, and we discuss their excellent suggestions for defining components and linking these to genes and other biological mechanisms. We conclude that no doors should be closed in the study of personality and that, as such, alternative theories such as the network perspective should be welcomed, formalised and tested. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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