From Inferred Personalities Toward Personality in Action


  • I am indebted to David Buss, Starkey Duncan, Jr, Barbara Fiske, Louis Fogg, Eric Klinger, Lester Luborsky, Gordon Paul, Gerald Patterson, Stephen West, and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article

concerning this article should be directed to Donald W Fiske, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Committee on Research Methodology and Quantitative Psychology, 5848 S University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637


ABSTRACT Within the diversity of approaches in personality research, paradigms have shifted away from some generalized concept of personality as out there in the “real world” toward personality as perceived and inferred from behavior in various contexts, and even further toward personality as sequences of actions discernible in the moment-to-moment flow of behavior Some current approaches minimize such perennial problems in personality research as the fuzziness of broad concepts and the variance associated with contexts and with particular perceivers/observers for whom the words used in common measurement procedures have individualistic meanings An assortment of research programs are discussed to illustrate the trend Particular attention is paid to the small behavioral units in most of these programs Although these investigators circumscribe the domains of behavior they study, their findings and conclusions appear to possess substantial external validity Personality research will progress as this slow shift in paradigms continues