Personality and destiny

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A summary of the "situationist" faction of personality psychology, which holds that behavior is strongly influenced by the situation. Knowing someone's personality type adds little value when predicting how they'll behave in a new situation. Small changes to the environment can have disproportionately large effects on behavior. "Making predictions is hard, especially about the future." – attributed to Neils Bohr.
  1. It’s hard to predict how personality traits will affect behavior in new situations.
  2. We don’t have a good grasp of the difference between a “new situation” and “a variant of an old situation.”
  3. Small differences in the situation (like recent good luck) can make a big difference in how traits like “helpfulness” are expressed. 
  4. So you'll probably need to try it and see ("probe-sense-response"), rather than assume you can find out enough to predict ("sense-analyze-respond").

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Two-slot postage stamp vending machine image courtesy the Smithsonian Museum. Public domain.
Personality and destiny
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