Personality dynamics, motivation, and the logic of explanation

Simon Boag*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Dynamic personality approaches provide an important step forward for twenty-first century personality theories because they promise greater explanatory power compared with latent trait approaches. Nevertheless, whether dynamic personality theories satisfactorily address motivated action remains unclear. To address this, this article discusses the logic of explanation and problems with latent trait approaches in terms of circularity and reification. The article then assesses explanation within dynamic personality accounts and the putative role of motivation. While dynamic personality approaches avoid many of the problems associated with latent trait accounts, a satisfactory account of motivational systems and "human nature" is currently missing. Suggestions for addressing the dynamics of human nature in terms of criteria for motivational systems are discussed. Attachment theory is offered as one possible foundation for addressing the motivational dynamics of personality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)427-436
    Number of pages10
    JournalReview of General Psychology
    Issue number4
    Early online date2018
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


    • attachment theory
    • dynamic personality
    • Five Factor model
    • motivation
    • personality traits


    Dive into the research topics of 'Personality dynamics, motivation, and the logic of explanation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this