Jonah Lehrer on our context-dependent personalities:
So if personality is so context-dependent, then why do we believe so fiercely in the constancy of character? Why does everyone know their Myers-Briggs score? The answer returns us to the biased brain, and a mental flaw known as the fundamental attribution error. It turns out that when we evaluate the behavior of others we naturally overemphasize the role of personality – we assume people are always aggressive or always dishonest or always sarcastic – and undervalue the role of context and the pervasive influence of situations. Nobody, it turns out, is always anything.
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