Personality in context: an interpersonal systems perspective
Because a significant part of individuals' lives involve close relationships, an important and substantial part of the situations they encounter consists of other people's behaviors. The present paper suggests that individuals' characteristic ways of behaving, which are typically attributed to "personality," arise from two processes: One lies primarily within the individual, conceptualized as individual differences in people's cognitive and affective processing system. The other process, which has received less attention in personality research, lies outside the person in the individual differences in the situations that people encounter in their everyday lives. This latter process is particularly relevant for understanding close relationships. By assuming that each partner's behavior provides the situational context for the other partner, a dyadic relationship is conceptualized as the "interlocking" of the cognitive-affective processing systems of both partners. This approach to personality-in-context is illustrated using a hypothetical scenario. Moreover, this framework is used to organize extant research on attachment styles, rejection sensitivity, self-fulfilling prophecy, the self in relation to others, and interdependence theory, along with present research on the inter and intra individual processes likely to play a role in interpersonal relationships.
- Psychology