The Perception of Personality Trait Stability in Others: An Extension of the Fundamental Attribution Error
Johnson, Nicholas D.
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Researchers often debate the extent in which personality remains stable. Evidence supports claims that personality traits are both consistent and susceptible to change. However, research has not yet studied how individuals perceive stability or change in traits over time. Additionally, the fundamental attribution error has been studied with person perception in time, but never on the influence of a behavior in the present on perception of others over time. Surveys were completed to explore individual perception of change. The results suggest that individuals perceive traits to change over time, yet aggressive behavior in the present was attributed to unchanging traits over time. This evidence suggests an extension of the fundamental attribution error; although individuals perceive change, when encountering a certain behavior no change is predicted over time. The research suggests greater investigation into the perception of different personality traits, and discusses the benefits of multiple interactions with individuals before making informed decisions, such as hiring a new employee.