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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews major theoretical positions on the influence of situations for the understanding of both personality and social–psychological processes. We review the history and current status of this topic, and we describe in some detail two recent theories that seem particularly amenable toward resolving the disparate approaches that this distinction often engenders. Broadly considered, our position is that personality and situations must be considered interacting factors, but in a theoretically specific way. The concept of affordance—that situations provide opportunities for the expression of certain personality traits—is central to our analysis. We also discuss several issues that personality and social psychologists might profitably consider to provide better grounding for theories and research about the impact of situations on behavior.

Keywords: situation, personality, affordance, interdependence, interdependence theory, cognitive–affective personality system, taxonomies of situations, personality–situation interactionism

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