Personality traits are widely employed as antecedent variables in the explanation of communicative behaviors. This study explored the legitimacy of the use of traits by focusing on the conceptual and empirical justification for one assumption of the trait approach: “cross-situational consistency. “This assumption was not supported for the traits of “reticence” or “predisposition toward verbal behavior.” Evidence also raised questions concerning the general validity of this assumption for other, familiar trait variables. Alternative conceptualizations of the trait/behavior relationship were reviewed and briefly critiqued.
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