Constructing and validating the large inventory of frequent experience : personality based on everyday behaviors
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What is the best way to account for the variety of human experience? The range of ways to understand individuals has been debated across myriad domains of study without consensus. Rarely have the solutions involved the role of the observable behaviors of daily life; instead inferences are made from traits, opinions, beliefs, or needs. The current dissertation proposes assessing personality through the lens of time, focusing on individual differences in the objective, real world transactions of everyday behaviors. To accomplish this goal an inventory was created to closely approximate the totality of everyday behavioral life and explore its relation to traditional measures of personality. Study 1 analyzed the structure of behaviors in the American Time Use data as an aid in item generation within a narrowed, but comprehensive scope of the behavioral landscape. A thorough set of criteria were then applied to tailor the inventory towards measuring objective, high incidence, quotidian behaviors of psychological interest. In Study 2, the assembled 78-item behavioral inventory was administered to a large, diverse sample to explore the structure of everyday behaviors; the stability of behaviors over time; individual differences in everyday behaviors; the relationship of everyday behaviors to various measures of personality; and, the covariance of the behaviors with the language of everyday life. Six major dimensions of everyday behaviors were identified and found to be internally consistent and reliable over time. The dimensions demonstrated unique variance as a function of age, sex, and personality. The self-report format of this method of assessing everyday behaviors was shown to be construct valid in that analyses of open-ended linguistic descriptions of routine weekend behaviors paralleled the patterns of activity reported. The broader implications of assessing personality by way of everyday behaviors are discussed in that behaviors can be thought of as an enduring signature that implicitly incorporate our values, attitudes, beliefs, and overall means of expression.