ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 161-177.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00161

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How does “one takes on the attributes of one's associates”? The past, present, and future of Trait Activation Theory

LIU Yuxin1, CHEN Chen1(), ZHU Nan1, ZHANG Jianwei2, WANG Shuai1   

  1. 1 Business School, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing 100029, China
    2 School of Humanities and Social Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2019-01-27 Online:2020-01-15 Published:2019-11-21


Trait Activation Theory aims to elaborate how relevant situations could activate individuals’ internal traits, and how the activation processes trigger the implicit traits expressed as explicit behaviors. The current study articulates the emergence, the baseline and extended theoretical models of Trait Activation Theory, and specifically explains the situational taxonomies, various trait activation processes, and the activated outcomes. The essence of trait activation and its boundary were also shown through the comparison with “P-E” Fit Theory and Situational Strength Theory. Future studies could explore the current theoretical model in depth and breadth, particularly enrich the “to be activated” alternatives and the situational taxonomies.

Key words: trait activation, Trait Activation Theory, trait-expressive behavior, trait-relevant cues, situational taxonomies

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