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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we examine how the self both creates and results from experience—both its high points and low points. At a metatheoretical level, we consider how social and personality psychologists typically conceive of and study the self, drawing on the topic of self-esteem to illustrate typical views of the self as dispositional characteristics of persons, the product of situations, or the interaction between them. This person × situation framework has stimulated a great deal of research and had considerable heuristic value for social and personality psychologists who study the self and identity. However, because it views both the person and the situation as static rather than the result of dynamic processes, it fails to account for how people and situations mutually create each other in a process that unfolds over time. Through dynamic processes of reciprocal influence between persons and situations, self and identity can change surprisingly rapidly—change sustained by the situations people create for themselves over time. We consider methodological approaches in personality and social psychology to test these dynamic models of self and identity.

Keywords: self-esteem, relationships, goals, motives, contingencies, self-transcendence, compassion

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