The consistency of presented personality: Additional evidence from aggregation


  • The author gratefully acknowledges the thoughtful comments of Dr Mick Gregson on an earlier draft of this manuscript. He would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions. Parts of the research were reported to the British Psychological Society Social Psychology Section Annual Conference held at Sheffield University, England in September 1983. Requests for reprints should be sent to Charles Woodruffe, Department of Psychology, Froebel Institute College, Grove House, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PJ, England.


The present study investigated people's variability across situations by getting ratings of 66 subjects on 14 bipolar dimensions from at least eight interactants, chosen for their diversity. The intercorrelation of single ratings yielded a mean coefficient of .221. The correlation of single ratings with the aggregate of the other ratings for a dimension resulted in a mean coefficient of .388. The correlation of two sets of aggregated ratings gave a mean coefficient of .550, or .710 with application of the Spearman-Brown correction. Finally, computation of Cronbach's alpha gave a mean coefficient of .735. The results provide a further demonstration of the coherence that can be revealed by aggregation. Correlations of aggregated ratings on each of the 14 dimensions with extraversion ranged up to .668, and correlations with neuroticism ranged up to .410. The study suggests that there is a dispositionality in the characteristics people display, and that the emphasis on variability (e.g., Mischel, 1968; Mischel & Peake, 1982) should be tempered.