The Psychology of Personal Constructs. Personal Project Pursuit is the first book to feature Brian Little’s highly respected personal projects analysis (PPA), one of the pioneering theories in contemporary personality and motivational psychology. With respect to her specific symptoms, an inexplicably fast racing heart, there is recent evidence, albeit very provisional, that acting even for a short period in ways that go against one’s natural orientation can increase tachycardia (Bono & Vey, 2007). Elliot, A. J., & Sheldon, K. M. (1997). Sutton, R. I. ), Handbook of Personality Theory and Research (pp. Journal of Personality, 60, 501–525. If George had looked and listened before leaping into creative projects, and had Elizabeth talked about the toll charges that free traits were imposing, they would have had a greater chance for the sustainable pursuit of their singular and shared core projects. He is also realizing that his other core project, growing Traq, is at risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1058–1068. Free traits can be understood as the negotiation of three different sources of human conduct, introduced earlier as biogenic, sociogenic, and idiogenic influences. New York, NY: Guilford Press. The interplay of self-enhancement and self-verification. I laughed, and cried. Those who only see her when she is ‘on’ will be skeptical of those who talk about her quieter, more introverted nature. It is the most authoritative and complete account of the theory and studies done on personal projects over the past four decades. Dissertation Abstracts International, 61 (4–B), 2260. Free traits and flourishing: Acting out of character. ), Handbook of Motivational Counseling: Concepts, Approaches and Assessment (pp. Little, B. R. (2000a). In the case of Traq, had George and the rest of the team known that Elizabeth needed solitary time as much as George did, they might have arranged for someone more naturally extraverted to take on some of the interpersonal projects for the team. By these criteria, George is certifiably creative, and his relatively fixed traits contribute in part to his success. First Published 2014. Everyday behavior may frequently take this direct route from genotypic trait features to phenotypic trait expression. Personal projects and the distributed self: Aspects of a conative psychology. Individuals do have the capacity to withstand or subvert the claims of behavior settings and to change micro-level situational pressures. There is one exception, however, to which we will return – his perception of Elizabeth. Elizabeth has been hospitalized for serious tachycardia and an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Blogs are the original side project and what many people think of when they consider starting one—so we figured we’d start there, too. Like fixed traits, we see these eco-setting forces, particularly at the macro level as relatively resistant to change by the individual. Or it could be your mom. Individuals engaged in free-traited behavior may well be advancing core project of ultimate significance to them. (1938). In D. Stokols & I. Altman (Eds. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 347–358. ), Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action and Human Flourishing (pp. She is high on openness to experience, but not off the chart as George is. In B. R. Little, K. Salmela-Aro, & S. D. Phillips (Eds. We are making the following tools available for research and testing purposes only: Please email any comments, suggestions, bug reports or feature requests to Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Once one falls under their influence, however, the claim of contextual force fields is exceptionally powerful. Personal projects can both change and be … For the last few weeks, she has not been the typical Liz he knows and loves. Harvard University. 65–82). American Psychologist, 17, 484 – 495. Since our lives are very complex, you may not be sure of exactly how you’re feeling or how well you’re doing. But unless there is an initial realistic appraisal of affordances and constraints, including knowledge of one’s own internal resources, the person runs the risk of being blindsided by the vicissitudes of life. 7. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Little, B. R. (2006). 408–448). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: Happy and unhappy people. Consequently, her daily social activities at Traq are taxing, and the costs are compounded as her performance on the more technical projects drops. What drives the choice of core projects? New York, NY: Plenum. What has been happening to her? Life tasks, self-concept ideals, and cognitive strategies in a life transition. The personal project is proposed as a new unit of analysis for the study of personality in its social, physical and temporal context. On the way to the hospital, the superstar George is feeling decidedly less than awesome, and the amazing Elizabeth is just barely keeping it together. If you are sitting in the adjacent booth in the cafeteria, would you linger a bit, intrigued by the differing styles, contrasting concerns, and singular stories you hear emerging in the snatches of conversation? 171–195). Person-oriented individuals, for example, engage in a high frequency of sociable pursuits and they both generate and attend to expressive cues that stimulate further interaction (Little, 1972, 1976; McGregor, McAdams, & Little, 2006). 79–88). Using Elizabeth as a concrete example, Figure 3 graphs the sources, costs, benefits, and consequences of free traits. The first is in terms of the personality attributes that you have , or your openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeability and neuroticism (what I call the Big Five personality traits). Managing one’s social ecology requires skills such as conveying why one’s projects are worth supporting and ensuring that key supporters are themselves supported in the venture. (2007). Need satisfaction and involvement in personal projects: Toward an integrative model of well-being. 375–400). Free trait theory proposes that one of the many ways that sociogenic sources influence behavior is through the form of trait prescriptions. Wegner, D. (1994). Recently, she has been partying heartily, entertaining with gusto, and generally acting as an outgoing, even ebullient, creature. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Personal projects are extended sets of personally relevant action that range from daily chores (e.g., ‘Order more USB keys, again’) to defining life commitments (e.g., ‘Be sensitive to my partner’s needs, always’). Our concern with the multiple sources influencing the shape of human lives over time represents a continuation of the personological tradition started at the Harvard Psychological Clinic (Little, 2007; Murray, 1938; White, 1959, 1975). Personal projects and other PAC units, since their inception, have been effective predictors of human well-being and flourishing (Little, 1989; Palys & Little, 1983). Are some traits, such as those having higher biogenic strength, less easy to adopt as free traits? As depicted graphically, we conceptualize life quality as a function of both stable and dynamic features of persons and contexts and of personal action constructs (PAC units) – the concerns, projects, and tasks that animate human lives (Little, 1999a, 1999b; Little, Lecci, & Watkinson, 1992). George is an exceptionally creative software entrepreneur, and his small firm, Traq, is his ‘baby’. They range from the incidental tasks of typical Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 55, 419–427. ), Childhood and Adolescence in Canada (pp. Personal Project Pursuit is a comprehensive account of a novel and important psychological approach to understanding people through their life activities. Finally, our early empirical work on free traits shows that the absence of general stress facilitates free-trait behavior (Little & Joseph, 2007). In B. R. Little, K. Salmela-Aro, & S. D. Phillips (Eds. Contrary to appearances, however, she is not a natural extravert, and here is where some of the challenges originate. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 245–268. In this respect, her free traits have fostered new competencies that may not otherwise have been explored. Thus, on this Wednesday afternoon, taking stock of his projects and life in general, George regards himself as most fortunate. For example, openness to experi- ence predicts being engaged in creative projects (Melia-Gordon, 1994) and optimism predicts efficacious project pursuit ( Jackson, Weiss, Lundquist, & Sonderlind, 2002). Brian Little 13,576,541 views • 15:15. In so doing, they stimulate a reconsideration of conventional approaches to motivational and personality psychology. Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior. Psychological Review, 101, 34–52. I review a social ecological model of human development that stimulates recon- sideration of some traditional views in personality and motivational psychology. A biogenic introvert acting in an extraverted manner so as to advance a core project of ‘keeping our clients happy’ is engaging in free-traited behavior. These are depicted in Boxes G-1 and G-2 with Elizabeth as a concrete exemplar. 51–93). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. Personality and emotional performance: Extraversion, neuroticism, and self-monitoring. Idiogenic sources are different. Little, B. R. (2005). ), Personal Project Pursuit: Goals, Action and Human Flourishing (pp. His openness is consistent with his capacity to generate creative projects. Meaning and Void: Inner Experiences and the Incentives in People’s Lives. But its focus is internal. (2002). Disagreeable people, for example, enjoy being in situations where they are being disagreeable (see Côté and Moskowitz, 1998). Personal Projects and Free Traits: Sustainability and Restoration. This chapter surveys the past and present state of personality psychology as a core specialty within psychology and examines how it goes about understanding the lives of the Eves, Adams, and Nikkis of this world. Journal of Personality, 75, 505–534. In: Brandtstadter, J, Lerner, RM (eds) Action and Self-Development: Theory and Research through the Life Span, pp. The marvel is that while you made us fall about in laughter, you left us knowing that we had heard something quite profound. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. However, free trait theory postulates that some of the most deeply human and consequential features of our lives involve the conflict of the biogenic with the two other foundational sources. 59, 762–769. A sense of meaning may sometimes be achieved only through compromising physical health. This is not just of theoretical significance; it has important impli- cations for the initial stages of empirical explorations. Avoidance achievement motivation: A personal goals analysis. Little, B. R. (1987). This requires attention to the internal dynamics of the positive emotions that are sparked by passionate pursuit as well as to the inevitable negative emotions created by frustrations met along the way. (1999). They also have bi-directional links with the block of life quality measures. (1990). Little created Personal Projects Analysis (PPA) as a general methodology for examining the daily pursuits of individuals and groups. Free traits emerge when individuals enact sociogenic scripts to advance idiogenic aims, irrespective of the person’s biogenic dispositions. The model arose, in part, as a way of resolving the person–situation debate in psychology by focusing on transactional units of analysis in which persons and situations were organically linked (Little, 2007). In L. A. Pervin (Ed. 145–169). MacKinnon, D. W. (1962). Journal of Psychology, 136, 521– 532. Elizabeth truly is a highly agreeable person, and, consistent with how she is seen by others, concern for others and willingness to pitch in are deeply rooted and completely natural. 3–49). Hot projects, transformed from zestful excitement to zealous excess, can extract a major toll, both on the project pursuer and the surrounding ecology. Little, B. R. (1998). It's the doings that we have in our life — the personal projects. White, R. W. (1975). ), Psychological Perspectives on the Self (Vol. A sequential model of personal projects is proposed in which the major stages of project inception, planning, action, and termination are described in detail and related to dimensions of individual differences. Personal projects form a central nexus of the model, with linkages between both fixed and more fluid features of persons and contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1221–1230. McGregor, I. In only 2 years, three highly original products have already gone to market and four more are ready to launch. Most important, in terms of recent research (Little & Grant, 2007), he feels that his project pursuits are emotionally supported by those around him, particularly Elizabeth. In S. Wapner, J. Demick, T. Yamamoto, & H. Minami (Eds. Besides, his parents want him to go back home after graduation to work in the family business. Melia-Gordon, M. (1994). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1178–1191. Similarly, Vallerand et al. Brian Little: The book actually grew out of experiences you and I had at Harvard a few years ago. It is the most authoritative and complete account of the theory and studies done on personal projects over the past four decades. New York, NY: Morrow. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 551–572. McGregor (2007) makes an interesting case that passionate project pursuit may be compensatory in nature, a reaction to the terror of uncertainty and under specifiable conditions can transform the project into an excessively myopic enterprise. All of her Traq projects are on hold, and given that some have strict and looming deadlines, they are very much at risk. Personal projects: A rationale and method for investigation. We do not see those who act out of character as stand up chameleons, as superficial role players or as annoying error variance. (2007). Little, B. R., & Grant, A. She suddenly bolts from the group realizing she’s late for her stats class. 193–212). When one’s core project pursuits are no longer sustainable, the quality of life becomes seriously compromised. Kelly, G. A. Idiogenic sources are the valued concerns that people pursue in their lives and comprise their personal constructions, commit- ments, and core projects. When individuals are asked to act ‘like an extravert’ in experimental research, they are able to do so, albeit it with various degrees of ‘leakage’ of their biogenic traits (Lippa, 1976). This is also the one critical piece of information about life with Liz that George was missing and that has precipitated the crisis. Chambers, N. C. (2007). Biological dimensions of personality. As his colleagues say, George is awesome. This brings us back to George and Elizabeth. When George’s projects are in full flight, he is irrepressibly joyful; when they are impeded, the team, including Elizabeth, keeps out of his way. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 33, 330–338. The relationship between contexts and personal projects has been studied at several levels. Hard indicators on financial success, his reputation in the software architecture community, and his total devotion to his work all confirm he is a bona fide superstar. This may not only enhance well-being by promoting successful project pursuit but may also compromise well-being because of challenges to the autonomic nervous system. McGregor, I., MacAdams, D. P., & Little, B. R. (2006). Personal projects, life stories, and happiness: On being true to traits. Empirical, theoretical and practical advantages of the HEXACO model of personality structure. I review a social ecological model of human development that stimulates recon- sideration of some traditional views in personality and motivational psychology. Predisposing and facilitating factors. Liz could crank out code faster and more accurately than George and she had the social skills to entertain clients, attend civic events on behalf of the firm, and generally be the highly visible partner on the team, leaving George to be, quite literally, the silent partner. Free traits, personal projects and ideo-tapes: Three tiers for personality psychology. George is concerned, of course, about Elizabeth – she is a vital part of his life, and her well- being is a core project for him. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Review of General Psychology, 3, 264–291. Personal projects and social ecology: Themes and variation across the life span. Emmons, R. A. Book Personal Project Pursuit Goals, Action, and Human Flourishing. 157–181). Do interpersonal traits predict affect? A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 218–232. Carleton University and Among those arising from external, contextual generated sources are normative life tasks (Cantor, Norem, Niedenthal, Langston, & Brower, 1987). George’s creative success at Traq and his puzzlement over Elizabeth will also be focal concerns of this article. 197–221). Personal Projects Analysis. Figure 2: Traits, contexts and personal projects: The case of George. Dr. Brian Little's Website Research Interests Personal projects analysis as a framework for integration in personality science; exploring the implications of “free traits”, patterns of culturally scripted conduct, that advance our core projects. Structures from the incidental tasks of typical by Brian R. Little, K. E., & Moskowitz D.! Quality: benefits and costs a flour- ishing life or make it utterly miserable of projects we call projects. Force fields is exceptionally powerful L., & Gee, T. L. ( )! To understanding people through their life activities fostered new competencies that may not enhance! 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