Personality Development

Personality is relatively stable over time, but it is also subject to change across the entire lifespan. On a macro-analytical level, empirical research has identified patterns of normative and differential development that are affected by biological and environmental factors, specific life events and social role investments. On a micro-analytical level, however, little is known about the underlying processes driving personality development. Our research focuses on unraveling these specific mechanisms of personality development. It is based on integrative state process models that understand personality trait stabilization and change as the result of repeated changes in state levels and state configurations within motivational, behavioral-perceptual and self-reflective state domains. We are particularly interested in effects of social experiences on the development of personality traits (e.g. extraversion, self-esteem) and the behavioral, perceptual, social feedback, and network processes driving these effects. While our approach can be applied across the lifespan, our current work focuses on critical transitions during young adulthood (e.g., year abroad, start of studies, start of a first regular job).