A more complex form of personality development involves changes in the manifestations of a trait. Consider the trait of dominance. Suppose that the people who are dominant at age 8 are the same people who are dominant at age 20. The 8-year-old boys, however, manifest their dominance by showing toughness in rough-and-tumble play, calling their rivals "sissies," and insisting on monopolizing the video games. At the age of 20, they manifest their dominance by persuading others to accept their views in political discussions, boldly asking someone out on a date, and insisting on the restaurant at which the group will eat.
This form of personality development—maintaining rank order in relation to other individuals but changing the manifestations of the trait—is called personality coherence. Notice that this form of personality coherence does not require that the precise behavioral manifestations of a trait remain the same. Indeed, the manifestations may be so dif ferent that there is literally no overlap between age 8 and age 20. The act manifestations have all changed, but something critical has remained the
The manifestation of disagreeableness may differ across the life span, ranging from temper tantrums in infancy to being argumentative and having a short temper in adulthood. Even though the behaviors are different at the different ages, they nevertheless express the same underlying trait. This kind of consistency is called personality coherence.
A Closer Look
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