Davidson, A. (2019). WHEN SITUATIONS ACTIVATE MORE THAN ONE TRAIT CONCURRENTLY: A STUDY OF NEUROTICISM AND CONSCIENTIOUSNESS IN EVALUATIVE AND NON-EVALUATIVE SITUATIONS. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Most scholars have come to believe behavior is determined by an interaction of personality traits and situations. Trait activation theory (Tett & Guterman, 2000) and Fleeson’s (2001, 2007) conceptualization of the trait-situation interaction both suggest that a situation can activate a specific trait and lead to trait-related behaviors. However, while both of these perspectives can accommodate the notion that multiple traits can be active in a particular situation, theory and research have largely focused on single traits. This paper seeks to address this gap by examining evaluative situations, which I believe will activate both neuroticism and conscientiousness. Data were gathered using experience sampling method and are analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling to observe the within-person state conscientiousness and state neuroticism correlation when accounting for the situation. Results showed that state neuroticism and state conscientiousness scores were higher in evaluative situations than in non-evaluative situations. However, I expected situation-type would moderate the relationship between state neuroticism and state conscientiousness. While multi-level modeling did reveal a significant moderating effect, it did not take the form expected. Results are interpreted with respect to trait activation theory and Fleeson’s perspective on state variability.Keywords: Trait-activation theory, personality distributions, personality states, neuroticism, conscientiousness, experience sampling method