Personality and Social Behavior

Personality and Social Behavior

Personality and Social Behavior

Personality and Social Behavior


The study of the relationship between the person and the situation has had a long history in psychology. Many theories of personality are set on an interpersonal stage and many social phenomena are played out differently as the cast of characters change. At times the study of persons and situations has been contentious, however, recent interest in process models of personality and social interaction have focused on the ways people navigate, influence, and are influenced by their social worlds.

Personality and Social Behaviorcontains a series of essays on topics where a transactional analysis of the person and situation has proved most fruitful. Contributions span the personality and social psychology spectrum and include such topics as new units in personality; neuroscience perspectives on interpersonal personality; social and interpersonal frameworks for understanding the self and self-esteem; and personality process analyses of romantic relationships, prejudice, health, and leadership.

This volume provides essential reading for researchers with an interest in this core topic in social psychology and may also be used as a text on related upper-level courses.


This volume is about personality and social behavior. It surveys a wide variety of research domains with roots in the two disciplines in an attempt to understand the transactions between persons and their social worlds. The organizing questions are (a) How do characteristics of the person drive and shape interpersonal behavior? and (b) How do features of the social environment constrain and elicit behaviors from the individual? These are not new questions. However, there are new and evolving answers. It can be argued that the “emerging symbiosis” (Swann & Selye, 2005) between the disciplines of social and personality psychology is evidenced in the new and exciting approaches to addressing the personality and social behavior questions put forth in the following chapters.

Evidence for such symbiosis between the fields of personality and social psychology may be found in current textbook definitions of the two disciplines. Consider the following:

Personality is the complex organization of cognitions, affects, and behaviors
that gives direction and pattern (coherence) to the person’s life. …personality
consists of both structures and processes and reflects both nature (genes) and
nurture experience. (Pervin, 1996, p. 414)

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence,
and relate to one another. (Myers, 2007, p. 4)

As these two representative definitions suggest, contemporary views of personality and social psychology share much overlap in their central concerns. Although social psychology places greater emphasis on the interpersonal aspects of the . . .

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