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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A central tenet of social constructivist approaches to personality is that people’s social relationships determine the development, structure, and expression of personality. This view has been difficult to reconcile with a widely accepted view among researchers and lay perceivers alike that personality consists of internal, characteristic dispositions that supersede particular relationships. Research within the social cognitive tradition provides an opportunity to integrate these ideas by suggesting that (a) behavioral variability across situations is stable and an important expression of the personality system; and (b) the stability and predictability of behavioral variability is readily discovered when situations are categorized in interpersonal terms. A recent theoretical framework proposing a culturally and interpersonally bound personality system is described that accounts for the ways in which people’s behavior is attuned to the interpersonal context, and several lines of research are reviewed that are consistent with the principles of this general framework.

Keywords: personality, social interaction, social constructivism, interpersonalism, interactionism, person-situation interactions, cognitive–affective personality system, symbolic interactionism, looking-glass self, relational self

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