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The role of personality in the pursuit of context-specific goals

PhD ceremony:Ms K.O. Mc Cabe
When:March 05, 2015
Supervisors:prof. dr. N. (Nico) van Yperen, Prof. A. Elliot
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
The role of personality in the pursuit of context-specific goals

Often people try to understand their “self.” However, is a person’s personality fixed, hidden somewhere within the self? The results of this thesis suggest that personality has a tendency to change its color to its surroundings like a chameleon. In other words, personality is determined by the context as well, and in particular, the goals a person has in a given situation. For example, people who are pursuing the goals of “trying to be the center of attention,” “trying to connect with others,” and “trying to have fun” will exhibit extraverted behavior. If people are pursuing goals of “trying to direct energy where it is needed most” or “trying to use time effectively,” and “trying to get things done,” will behave more conscientious. In other situations where other goals are important, people may exhibit less, or no, extraverted or conscientious behaviors. Hence, the answer to the question of whether you are extraverted, conscientious, perfectionistic, nice, and so on is: “It depends on the situation and the goal I find important (at that particular moment in time).” Thus, the search for your “self” is complex because people tend to change colors in different situations and at different times.