The study of personality requires that we understand what we mean by the terms personality and development. Whereas the concept of personality - including individual characteristics that are consistent over context and time - is appealing, serious issues in regard to consistency of characteristics over different contexts and over time remain, suggesting to me that although correlations may be significant, there is relatively little variance accounted for. As such, there is little consistency. The study of human development also has difficulties, especially the idea that earlier events lead to or can predict later events. In this article, these 2 classes of difficulties are addressed. The data suggest that individual characteristics, especially in children, are not consistent over context and time, and that earlier events do not predict later ones. This leads to the conclusion that an analysis of behavior in context may be the best way to understand the changing nature of personality growth and development.
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