Can exposure to arguments pro and contra extraversion affect self-reports of the trait and the attitude towards it?
Changeability of personality over short-term intervals has increasingly become a focus of research. However, the role played by argumentation interventions in short-term variations has scarcely been examined.
In two experiments (Ns = 363 and 320), we investigated how processing positive and negative argumentation regarding extraversion (Study 1: watching a lecture; Study 2: elaborating self-invented arguments) affects self-reports on this trait and attitude towards it. The experiments included three waves of measurements with argument manipulation (in favour of or against extraversion) immediately prior to Time 2 (Study 2 also included a control group).
Mean-level changes in extraversion across time moments, measured with the longitudinal confirmatory factor analysis, were consistently negligible. Conversely, there were some indications that argumentation about extraversion could have immediate short-term effects on attitudes towards this trait. The random-intercept cross-lagged model showed that rank-order consistency stemmed from a trait-like intercept, which was particularly large for trait extraversion compared to the attitude. The autoregressive and cross-lagged effects of residual within-person variation were consistently small and mostly non-significant.
Our findings suggest that extraversion and the attitude towards it maintained their temporal continuity within three months, even under a single exposure to arguments pro and contra this trait.