Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 43–56 | Cite as

Behavioral Stability Across Time and Situations: Nonverbal Versus Verbal Consistency

  • Max Weisbuch
  • Michael L. Slepian
  • Asha Clarke
  • Nalini Ambady
  • Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele
Original Paper


Behavioral consistency has been at the center of debates regarding the stability of personality. We argue that people are consistent but that such consistency is best observed in nonverbal behavior. In Study 1, participants’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors were observed in a mock interview and then in an informal interaction. In Study 2, medical students’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors were observed during first- and third-year clinical skills evaluation. Nonverbal behavior exhibited consistency across context and time (a duration of 2 years) whereas verbal behavior did not. Discussion focuses on implications for theories of personality and nonverbal behavior.


Consistency Nonverbal behavior Individual differences 



The project described was supported by NIMH grant F32MH078350 to the first author and by NIH grant R01 MH70833 to the fourth author. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max Weisbuch
    • 1
  • Michael L. Slepian
    • 1
  • Asha Clarke
    • 1
  • Nalini Ambady
    • 1
  • Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryVanderbilt Medical Center, Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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