Correspondence between personality trait ratings and behavioral events


  • I would like to thank Dr. Anne V. Gormly for her helpful comments during the preparation of this report, and I would like to thank Beatriz Champagne and John McGowan for their assistance in collecting the data. This research was supported by grants from the Research Council of Rutgers University and the Charles and Johanna Busch Memorial Fund.

Requests for reprints should be sent to: John B. Gormly, Department of Psychology, Tillett Hall, Livingston Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903


To investigate the validity of the trait, Energetic, two studies were conducted in which trait ratings of Energetic and objective measures of performance were recorded. The first study used naive raters (N= 55) who observed pairs of subjects perform in a laboratory setting. There was 84% agreement (p < .001) among the raters as to which person was more Energetic, and people rated as more Energetic performed more energetically on the objectively measured tasks (p < .001). The second study used peer ratings of Energetic and objective measures of energetic behavior in a laboratory setting. There was high agreement among the peers in ratings of Energetic, r = .95 (N = 30) and r = .93 (N = 31) for two groups. Nine men from the upper-quartile and nine men from the lower-quartile of the Energetic scores were tested in the laboratory and were given a structured interview regarding their physical activities. The correlation between peer ratings and laboratory performance was .56 and between peer ratings and the interview data, .64. The results support the position that trait ratings can be valid indicators of regularities in behavior. The procedures used in these studies could be a generally useful model for investigations of the validity of trait ratings.