Perspectives on the Situation

Harry T. Reis and John G. Holmes

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Perspectives on the Situation

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This chapter reviews major theoretical positions on the influence of situations and personality in social psychology. We review the history and current status of this debate and we describe in some detail two recent theories that seem particularly amenable toward resolving it. 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 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.

Article.  22198 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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