Is personality a zombie theory?

In certain cases, yes.

It is generally thought that science helps good ideas triumph over bad. The weight of evidence eventually pushes false claims aside...Why, then, are some bad ideas so hard to kill?

...Personality psychologists study human individuality – how and why individuals differ in their patterns of behavior and experience, and how those differences influence our lives.

For almost 50 years, an idea with a vexing immunity to evidence has needled this field. This idea is called situationism.

Is personality an illusion?

Introduced in the 1960s by American psychologist Walter Mischel, situationism is the idea that human behaviour results only from the situation in which it occurs and not from the personality of the individual.

In his 1968 book Personality and Assessment, Mischel claimed that the whole concept of personality is untenable because people behave differently in different situations.

If there are no consistent patterns in our behavior and we merely react, chameleon-like, to different contexts, then our sense of an enduring personality is illusory. With that bombshell, the person-situation debate erupted.

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