Personality science and self-regulation: Personal projects as integrative units
Applied Psychology , Volume 55 - Issue 3 p. 419- 427
Cervone, Shadel, Smith, and Fiori (2006) make a strong case for enhancing theoretical coherence in the study of self-regulation by examining recent advances in personality science. I extend their line of argument, reframe their philosophical reminders and strategically shift their suggestions. My goal is to provide an augmented base from which personality science and self-regulation research and practice can derive mutual benefit. Consensus seems to be emerging that personality science can be usefully conceptualised as a multi-tier structure, each floor of which focuses on different units of analysis. I focus on Tier I (trait units) and Tier II (PAC units (personal action constructs)). I suggest that Tier II is the home of both the social cognitive theorists and social ecological theorists and that they seem to have colluded to ignore each other. I use Cervone et al.'s timely article as a stimulant to do some renovation work on this floor. Focusing on personal projects I suggest that they provide an integrative function for personality science that augments the contributions of their close neighbors doing CAPS and KAPA research. By some minor renovations we find ourselves able to speak to the narrative theorists in the loft above and even to the trait theorists below. The resulting conversational potential, I suggest, is salutary for both personality science and the study of self-regulation.