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There are stable between-person differences in average levels of behavior across situations, yet there is also substantial within-person variation in behavior across situations. These observations raise questions about when people are more and less likely to behave in accordance with their typical or average personality traits. These questions were the focus of a recent study (Sherman, Nave, & Funder, 2012) published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Participants completed ratings of their typical behavior and then rated their behavior across four different situations as well as the characteristics of each situation. Results showed that situations supporting autonomy, relatedness, and competence are related to higher levels of congruence or similarity between typical personality and behavior in a given situation. Additionally, individuals who were more likely to behave in congruence with aspects of their personality that are similar to the normative personality (average personality across all individuals included in the study) experienced advantages in psychological health.
Sherman, Ryne A., Nave, Christopher S., & Funder, David C. (2012). Properties of persons and situations related to overall and distinctive personality-behavior congruence. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(1), 87-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2011.12.006