Core and Surface Characteristics of Personality
Each personality model or theory requires units to describe individual differences. These can be captured with a limited set of deeply anchored core characteristics that are necessary to sufficiently describe complex personality differences. A larger set of surface characteristics may develop out of these core differences as individual expressions of either specific or diverse core characteristics in particular environments. Core characteristics can be differentiated from surface characteristics by five criteria: They are (1) observable earlier in life, (2) more stable, and (3) less environmentally malleable than surface characteristics; (4) they cause surface manifestations and (5) account for genetic variance in them. In this entry, the concepts of core and surface characteristics of personality will be introduced along with cogent examples.
The authors received support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft KA 4088/2-1.
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