Set-Point Theory and personality development: Reconciliation of a paradox


15 Citaten (Scopus)


Set-point trait theories presume homeostasis at a specified level (stability/trait) and a surrounding “bandwidth” (change/state). The theory has been productively applied in studies on subjective well-being (SWB) but hardly in research on stability and change in personality (e.g. neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness). This divergence may be explained by the traditional but wrong assumption that SWB primarily responds to environmental influences, whereas personality traits do not. Three set-point models for personality courses are discussed: (1) The immutable set-point model, in which personality scores fluctuate around their set-point in reaction to experiences, but always return to their person-specific set-point; (2) the experience-dependent set-point model, in which an individual’s set-point can permanently change when prompted by major life events; (3) the mixed set-point model separating variation in personality scores into a stable component and a changing experience-dependent component. Research does not support the immutable model. The experience-dependent and mixed model explains trajectory courses of personality best. The chapter describes environmental changes that may change set-points, including life events. We end with recommendations on optimal research designs and time scales, characteristics of experiences that may have the potential to change set-points, and the potential of dynamic system models for understanding personality development.
Originele taal-2English
TitelPersonality Development Across the Lifespan
RedacteurenJule Specht
UitgeverijAcademic Press
Aantal pagina's21
ISBN van elektronische versie 978-0-12-804761-3
ISBN van geprinte versie978-0-12-804674-6
StatusPublished - apr-2017

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