Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-zdfhw Total loading time: 1.377 Render date: 2022-08-09T11:09:47.844Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

General Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Philip J. Corr
City, University London
Gerald Matthews
University of Central Florida
Get access


In the Editors’ General Introduction to the first (2009) edition of this handbook, we acclaimed the success of the trait approach to personality (Matthews, Deary & Whiteman, 2009). Since that time, this approach has been boosted by growing consensus among researchers on the nature and measurement of the major traits, by remarkable advances in genetics and neuroscience, by increasing integration with various fields of mainstream psychology, and by applied utility – the maturity of the field is attested by the establishment of new journals, notably Personality Neuroscience (published by Cambridge University Press; see Corr & Mobbs, 2018). Such has been progress, trait researchers now pursue “normal science” (Kuhn, 1962): Common core assumptions are shared about the nature of personality and former vexatious positions are seen as far less relevant. There is a reasonable agreement on dimensional models, the importance of both biological and social factors, and the dependence of behavior on person × situation interaction. Within this consensus, a variety of still-burning questions remain (Fajkowska & Kreitler, 2018); for example, on the causal status of traits, sources of stability and change in personality over the lifespan, and the respective roles of trait and state factors in behavior.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education. (2014). Standards for educational and psychological testing (2014 ed.). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
Bagby, R. M., Gralnick, T. M., Al-Dajani, N., & Uliaszek, A. A. (2016). The role of the Five-Factor Model in personality assessment and treatment planning. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 23, 365381.Google Scholar
Barrett, P. (2005). What if there were no psychometrics? Constructs, complexity, and measurement. Journal of Personality Assessment, 85, 134140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Li, N. (2013). The theory of purposeful work behaviour: The role of personality, higher-order goals, and job characteristics. Academy of Management Review, 38, 132153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beck, A. T., Emery, G., & Greenberg, R. L. (2005). Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Boyle, G. J. (2008). The five factor model of personality: A critique. In Boyle, G. J., Matthews, G. & Saklofske, D. H. (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment: Personality theories and models (Vol. 1, pp. 295-312). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
Boyle, G. J., Saklofske, D. H., & Matthews, G. (Eds.) (2015). Measures of personality and social psychological constructs. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.Google Scholar
Burr, V. (2018) Social constructionism. In Liamputtong, P. (Ed.), Handbook of research methods in health social sciences (pp. 116). Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore.Google Scholar
Capobianco, L., Reeves, D., Morrison, A. P., & Wells, A. (2018). Group metacognitive therapy vs. mindfulness meditation therapy in a transdiagnostic patient sample: A randomised feasibility trial. Psychiatry Research, 259, 554561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regulation of behaviour. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Corr, P. J. (2020). A Consensual paradigm for personality: Introduction to special issue. Personality and Individual Differences, 152, 109611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Corr, P. J., & Krupic, D. (2017). Motivating personality: Approach, avoidance, and their conflict. In Elliot, A. (Ed.), Advances in motivation science (Vol. 4, pp. 3990). London: Elsevier.Google Scholar
Corr, P. J., & Mobbs, D. (2018). From epiphenomenon to biologically important phenomena. Personality Neuroscience, 1, 14.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Four ways five factors are basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 653665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (2008). The revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R). In Boyle, G. J., Matthews, G. & Saklofske, D. H. (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of personality theory and assessment: Personality measurement and testing (Vol. 2, pp. 179198). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crego, C., Gore, W. L., Rojas, S. L., & Widiger, T. A. (2015). The discriminant (and convergent) validity of the Personality Inventory for DSM–5. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 6, 321335.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
De Cuyper, K., De Houwer, J., Vansteelandt, K., Perugini, M., Pieters, G., Claes, L., & Hermans, D. (2017). Using indirect measurement tasks to assess the self-concept of personality: A systematic review and meta-analyses. European Journal of Personality, 31, 841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas.Google Scholar
Eysenck, M. W., & Derakshan, N. (2011). New perspectives in attentional control theory. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 955960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fajkowska, M., & Kreitler, S. (2018). Status of the trait concept in contemporary personality psychology: Are the old questions still the burning questions? Journal of Personality, 86, 511.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fetvadjiev, V. H., & van de Vijver, F. J. (2015). Measures of personality across cultures. In Boyle, G. J., Saklofske, D. H. & Matthews, G. (Eds.), Measures of personality and social psychological constructs (pp. 752776). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gescher, D. M., Kahl, K. G., Hillemacher, T., Frieling, H., Kuhn, J., & Frodl, T. (2018). Epigenetics in personality disorders: Today’s insights. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Grafton, B., MacLeod, C., Rudaizky, D., Holmes, E. A., Salemink, E., Fox, E., & Notebaert, L. (2017). Confusing procedures with process when appraising the impact of cognitive bias modification on emotional vulnerability. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 211, 266271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gray, J. A. (1981). A critique of Eysenck’s theory of personality. In Eysenck, H. J. (Ed.), A model for personality (pp. 246-276). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haslam, N., Bastian, B., & Bissett, M. (2004). Essentialist beliefs about personality and their implications. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 16611673.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Johnson, A. M., Vernon, P.A., & Mackie, A. (2008). Genetic factors in personality. In Boyle, G. J., Matthews, G. & Saklofske, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of personality theory and assessment: Personality theories and models (Vol. 1, pp. 145173). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Judge, T. A., Rodell, J. B., Klinger, R. L., Simon, L. S., & Crawford, E. R. (2013). Hierarchical representations of the Five-Factor Model of personality in predicting job performance: Integrating three organizing frameworks with two theoretical perspectives. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98, 875925.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Judge, T. A., & Zapata, C. P. (2015). The person–situation debate revisited: Effect of situation strength and trait activation on the validity of the Big Five personality traits in predicting job performance. Academy of Management Journal, 58, 11491179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kennis, M., Rademaker, A. R., & Geuze, E. (2013). Neural correlates of personality: An integrative review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews, 37, 7395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 768821.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Landis, B. (2016). Personality and social networks in organizations: A review and future directions. Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 37, S107S121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lengel, G. J., Helle, A. C., DeShong, H. L., Meyer, N. A., & Mullins-Sweatt, S. N. (2016). Translational applications of personality science for the conceptualization and treatment of psychopathology. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 23, 288308.Google Scholar
Lievens, F., & Sackett, P. R. (2017). The effects of predictor method factors on selection outcomes: A modular approach to personnel selection procedures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 4366.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2007). Cognitive neuroscience and depression: Legitimate versus illegitimate reductionism and five challenges. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 263272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liu, D., & Campbell, W. K. (2017). The Big Five personality traits, Big Two metatraits and social media: A meta-analysis. Journal of Research in Personality, 70, 229240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matsumoto, D. (2007). Culture, context, and behaviour. Journal of Personality, 75, 12851320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G. (2004a). Designing personality: Cognitive architectures and beyond. In Proceedings of the American Artificial Intelligence Society Symposium on Architectures for Modelling Emotion: Cross-Disciplinary Foundations (pp. 8391). Menlo Park, CA: AAIS.Google Scholar
Matthews, G. (2004b). Neuroticism from the top down: Psychophysiology and negative emotionality. In Stelmack, R. M. (Ed.), On the psychobiology of personality: Essays in honor of Marvin Zuckerman (pp. 249266). New York: Elsevier Science.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G. (2008). Personality and information processing: A cognitive-adaptive theory. In Boyle, G. J., Matthews, G. & Saklofske, D. H. (Eds.), Handbook of personality theory and assessment: Personality theories and models (Vol. 1, pp. 5679). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G. (2016). Traits, cognitive processes and adaptation: An elegy for Hans Eysenck’s personality theory. Personality and Individual Differences, 103, 6167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G. (2018). Cognitive-adaptive trait theory: A shift in perspective on personality. Journal of Personality, 86, 6982.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Matthews, G., De Winter, J., & Hancock, P. A. (2019). What do subjective workload scales really measure? Operational and representational solutions to divergence of workload measures. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, published online 24 January.Google Scholar
Matthews, G., Deary, I. J., & Whiteman, M. C. (2009). Personality traits (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G., Schwean, V. L., Campbell, S. E., Saklofske, D. H., & Mohamed, A. A. R. (2000). Personality, self-regulation and adaptation: A cognitive-social framework. In Boekarts, M., Pintrich, P. R. & Zeidner, M. (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 171207). New York: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matthews, G., Zeidner, M., & Roberts, R. D. (2006). Models of personality and affect for education: A review and synthesis. In Winne, P. & Alexander, P. (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (2nd ed., pp. 163186). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
McAdams, D. P. (2015). Three lines of personality development: A conceptual itinerary. European Psychologist, 20, 252264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McNaughton, N., & Corr, P. J. (2004). A two-dimensional neuropsychology of defense: Fear/anxiety and defensive distance. Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews, 28, 285305.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Newell, A. (1982). The knowledge level. Artificial Intelligence, 18, 87127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Penke, L., & Jokela, M. (2016). The evolutionary genetics of personality revisited. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 104109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Poropat, A. E. (2009). A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic performance. Psychological Bulletin, 135, 322338.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Poropat, A. E., & Corr, P. J. (2015). Thinking bigger: The Cronbachian paradigm and personality theory integration. Journal of Research in Personality, 56, 5969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1999). What’s in your mind? In Lepore, E. & Pylyshyn, Z. W. (Eds.), What is cognitive science? (pp. 124). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Revelle, W. (1993). Individual differences in personality and motivation: ‘Noncognitive’ determinants of cognitive performance. In Baddeley, A. & Weiskrantz, L. (Eds.), Attention: Selection, awareness and control (pp. 346373). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Roberts, B. W. (2018). A revised sociogenomic model of personality traits. Journal of Personality, 86, 2335.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Roberts, B. W., Luo, J., Briley, D. A., Chow, P. I., Su, R., & Hill, P. L. (2017). A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 117141.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Salgado, J. F., Anderson, N., & Tauriz, G. (2015). The validity of ipsative and quasi-ipsative forced-choice personality inventories for different occupational groups: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 88, 797834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sanchez-Roige, S., Gray, J. C., MacKillop, J., Chen, C. H., & Palmer, A. A. (2018). The genetics of human personality. Genes, Brain and Behaviour, 17, e12439.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sloman, A. (2009). What cognitive scientists need to know about virtual machines. In Taatgen, N. A. & van Rijn, H. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 12101215). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.Google Scholar
Smillie, L. D. (2008). The conceptualisation, measurement and scope of reinforcement sensitivity in the context of a neuroscience of personality. European Journal of Personality, 22, 411425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smillie, L. D., Zhao, K., & Barford, K. A. (2014). Avoiding “greedy reductionism” in personality theory. Comment on “Personality from a cognitive-biological perspective” by Y. Neuman. Physics of Life Reviews, 11, 697698.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tamir, D. I., & Thornton, M. A. (2018). Modelling the predictive social mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 201212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Turkheimer, E., Pettersson, E., & Horn, E. E. (2014). A phenotypic null hypothesis for the genetics of personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 515540.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ullman, J. B. (2006). Structural equation modelling: Reviewing the basics and moving forward. Journal of Personality Assessment, 87, 3550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wells, A., & Matthews, G. (2014). Attention and emotion: A clinical perspective (Classic ed.). London: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats