The Personal Script as a Unit of Analysis for the Study of Personality


  • I would like to thank Bob Emmons, Dan McAdams, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback on an earlier draft of this article.

concerning the article should be directed to Amy Demorest, Department of Psychology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002.


ABSTRACT This article presents the construct of a “personal script” as an important variable for the study of personality. Personal scripts are construals that individuals form to understand and deal with personally significant experiences of living. A number of differences are outlined between the personal script construct and the field's more predominant trait construct. It is argued that the personal script construct can provide new perspectives on questions which have been addressed previously by the trait construct having to do with personality description. This claim is illustrated with two studies, one addressing the issue of group differences using a nomothetic method of personal script assessment, and the other addressing the issue of personal consistency using an idiographic method of personal script assessment. It is further suggested that the personal script construct can also allow researchers to ask new questions having to do with the dynamics of personality development and change.