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Metatraits

Definition

The term metatraits refers to differences in the extent to which people possess a given trait. Consider the trait of friendliness. People may differ not only in how friendly they are, but also in how much friendliness is relevant to their personality and guides their behavior. Friendliness may be a central aspect of Jane's personality and influence how she acts in many situations (e.g., with friends, romantic partners, coworkers, family members). However, friendliness may not be very relevant to Sue's personality, and therefore will not predict how friendly she acts around different people. The existence of metatraits means that when people measure a person's standing on a given trait (e.g., Agreeableness), they need to know not only where the person stands on the trait (e.g., ...

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