Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Are We More Consistent When Talking about Ourselves Than When Behaving? Consistency Differences through a Questionnaire and an Objective Task

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Are We More Consistent When Talking about Ourselves Than When Behaving? Consistency Differences through a Questionnaire and an Objective Task

Article excerpt

The present paper aimed to examine questionnaire response patterns and objective task-based test behavioral patterns in order to analyze the differences people show in consistency. It is hypothesized that people tend to be more consistent when talking about themselves (when describing themselves through verbal statements) that when they solve a task (when behaving). Consistency is computed using the π* statistic (Hernandez, Rubio, Revuelta, & Santacreu, 2006). According to this procedure, consistency is defined as the value and the dimensionality of the latent trait of an individual (θ) remaining invariant through out the test of. Participants who are consistent must show a constant θ and follow a given response pattern during the entire course of the test. A sample of 3,972 participants was used. Results reveal that 68% of participants showed a consistent response pattern when completing the questionnaire. When tackling the task-based test, the percentage was 66%. 45% of individuals showed a consistent pattern in both tests. Implications for personality and individual differences assessment are discussed.

Keywords: personality, consistency, prediction of behaviour, self-reports, objective task-based personality tests.

El presente artículo pretende examinar las diferencias que muestran las personas en cuanto a su consistencia entre los patrones de respuesta a un cuestionario y los patrones de respuesta ante un test objetivo basado en tareas. Se hipotetiza que las personas tienden a ser más consistentes cuando hablan sobre ellos mismos (es decir, cuando se describen en base a declaraciones verbales, como es el caso de los cuestionarios) que cuando resuelven una tarea (cuando se comportan). La consistencia se calcula utilizando el estadístico π* (Hernandez, Rubio, Revuelta, & Santacreu, 2006). De acuerdo con este procedimiento, la consistencia se define como la invarianza del valor y la dimensionalidad del rasgo latente de un individuo (θ) a lo largo de un test. Los participantes que son consistentes mostrarán una θ constante y seguirán un patrón de respuesta dado a lo largo del curso completo del test. Para este estudio se utilizó una muestra de 3972 personas. Los resultados muestran que el 68% de los participantes mostraron un patrón de respuesta consistente cuando cumplimentaron el cuestionario. Sin embargo, cuando se enfrentaron al test objetivo basado en tareas, el porcentaje fue del 66%. El 45% de los participantes mostraron un patrón consistente en los dos tests. El artículo analiza las implicaciones para la evaluación de la personalidad y las diferencias individuales.

Palabras clave: personalidad, consistencia, predicción de la conducta, autoinformes, test objetivos basados en tareas.

Individuals' consistency refers to a relatively enduring behavioural disposition. Individuals are consistent if they behave in a similar way in situations pertaining to the same category (i.e. situations which elicit anxiety and/or fear, situations which involve risk, co-operation situations, etc.). Temporal and situational consistency in behavior allow human beings to see themselves as being unique and different (Pervin, 1996).

Nevertheless, in spite of the assumption that every individual is consistent in situations related to the same personality dimension, an assumption which lies at the core of most definitions of personality traits (West & Graziano, 1989), there are several concerns surrounding this. For instance, can it be accepted that personality consistency is stable along the life span of individuals, at least from adulthood, or is there a peak of trait consistency before and after when human beings are more prone to exhibit changes? Is it possible to produce personality changes by means of psychological treatment? Is every personality dimension as consistent and stable as the others? (Conley, 1984; Hellervik, Hazucha, & Schneider, 1992; Linehan & Kehrer, 1993; McCrae & Costa, 1994; Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000). …

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