Handbook of Psychology, Volume 5, Personality and Social Psychology - Irving B. Weiner - ebook

Handbook of Psychology, Volume 5, Personality and Social Psychology ebook

Irving B. Weiner

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Psychology is of interest to academics from many fields, as well as to the thousands of academic and clinical psychologists and general public who can't help but be interested in learning more about why humans think and behave as they do. This award-winning twelve-volume reference covers every aspect of the ever-fascinating discipline of psychology and represents the most current knowledge in the field. This ten-year revision now covers discoveries based in neuroscience, clinical psychology's new interest in evidence-based practice and mindfulness, and new findings in social, developmental, and forensic psychology.

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Table of Contents

Title Page


Editorial Board

Handbook of Psychology Preface

Volume Preface


Part I: Personality

Chapter 1: Genetics of Personality


Behavior Genetics of Personality

Molecular Genetics of Personality

Summary and Future Directions


Chapter 2: Biological Bases of Personality

Genetics of Personality


Summary and Integration


Chapter 3: Psychodynamic Models of Personality

The Core Assumptions of Psychoanalysis

The Evolution of Psychoanalysis: Gazing Across Three Centuries

Psychoanalytic Personality Theories: Bringing Order to Chaos

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Psychology: Retrospect and Prospect

Conclusion: The Psychology of Psychodynamics and the Psychodynamics of Psychology


Chapter 4: The Five-Factor Model in Fact and Fiction

The Five-Factor Model

The Facts: Findings from FFM Research

The Story: A Theory of Traits in Operation

The Value of Literature for Psychology

The Uses of Trait Psychology in the Humanities

The Value of Contemporary Personality Psychology for Writers and Readers



Chapter 5: Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory: An Integrative Theory of Personality

The Existence of Two Information-Processing Systems

Support for CEST in an Extensive Research Program

Implications of CEST for Diverse Topics

Implications of CEST for the Existence of a Cancer-Prone Personality



Chapter 6: Self-Regulatory Perspectives on Personality

Behavior as Goal-Directed and Feedback-Controlled

Feedback Processes and Origins of Affect

Affect Issues

Responding to Adversity: Persistence and Giving Up

Two-Mode Models of Self-Regulation

Dynamic Systems and Self-Regulation

Concluding Comment


Chapter 7: Interpersonal Theory of Personality

Interpersonal Theory of Personality

Key Concepts of Interpersonal Theory: I. Describing Interpersonal Themes and Dynamics

Key Concepts of Interpersonal Theory: II. Development, Motivation, and Regulation



Chapter 8: The Cognitive-Affective Processing System

A Paradigm Shift in Personality Psychology: CAPS Theory From 1968, 1973, 1995, to Beyond

A Functionalist Approach to CAPS Theory


Chapter 9: Personality Trait Development in Adulthood

Methodological Issues in Personality Trait Development


Chapter 10: Personality Strengths

Strengths, Personality, and Adjustment

Resilience and Coping

Broad Dispositions as Strengths

Strengthening Experiences

What Have We Learned?


Part II: Social Psychology

Chapter 11: Social Cognition and Perception


Principles of Mental Representation

Automatic and Controlled Processes in Social Cognition

Core Processes of Person Perception

Perceiving Relationships

Cultural Contexts of Social Cognition



Chapter 12: The Social Self

The Social Self

Belongingness, Social Exclusion, and Ostracism

The Self as an Interpersonal Actor


Interpersonal Consequences of Self-Views

Emotions and the Interpersonal Self

Cultural and Historical Variations in Selfhood


Chapter 13: Attitudes in Social Behavior

What Attitudes Are and What Attitudes Are Not

Attitude Measurement

Three Key Aspects of Attitudes

Attitudes and Higher-Order Constructs

Characteristics of Attitudes

Attitude Formation

Attitudes and Information Processing

Attitudes and Behavior



Chapter 14: Social Influence and Group Behavior

Studies of Social Influence: Historical Background






Chapter 15: Close Relationships

What Is a Close Relationship?

Making a Commitment

Concluding Comments


Chapter 16: Prejudice

Models of Prejudice

Reducing Prejudice

Being the Target of Prejudice

Summary and Conclusions


Chapter 17: Persuasion and Attitude Change

Background Issues

Attitude Change: An Overview

Relatively Low Effort Processes of Attitude Change

Relatively High-Effort Processes of Attitude Change

Multiple Roles for Variables

What Happens When Attitudes Change?

What Happens When Attitudes Resist Change?



Chapter 18: Emotion Regulation Effectiveness: What Works When

Emotion Generation

Emotion Regulation: Past and Present

The Process Model of Emotion Regulation

Emotion Regulation Effectiveness

An Expanded View of Emotion Regulation Effectiveness

Empirical Tests of the Expanded Framework

Extensions and Future Research Directions


Chapter 19: Justice Theory and Research: A Social Functionalist Perspective

The Intuitive Economist

The Intuitive Politician

The Intuitive Scientist

The Intuitive Prosecutor

The Intuitive Theologian

Putting It Together: A Functional Pluralism Model of Justice


Chapter 20: Social Conflict, Harmony, and Integration

Social Conflict, Harmony, and Integration

Brief Historical Background on Intergroup Relations

Social Cognition, Categorization, and Identity

Intergroup Interaction Processes

Promoting Integration and Reconciliation



Chapter 21: Aggression


Development of Aggression and Stability Over Time

Individual Differences

Situational Factors

Emotion, Cognition, and Arousal

Interactions Among Risk Factors

Reducing Aggression



Chapter 22: Altruism and Prosocial Behavior

Interpersonal Prosocial Behavior

Collective Prosocial Behavior




Chapter 23: Evolutionary Social Psychology

Some History About Evolutionary Psychology

What Is Evolutionary Social Psychology?

Important Assumptions of an Evolutionary Approach

Reproductive Fitness Is the Engine That Drives Evolution

Evolutionary Social Psychology by Domains

Current Zeitgeists Within Evolutionary Social Psychology

Closing Remarks


Chapter 24: Culture and Social Psychology

Approaches to Culture in Mainstream Social Psychology and in Early Cross-Cultural Psychology



Author Index

Subject Index

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Handbook of psychology / Irving B. Weiner, editor-in-chief. — 2nd ed.

v. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 978-0-470-61904-9 (set)

ISBN 978-0-470-64776-9 (cloth : v.5)

ISBN 978-1-118-28376-9 (e-bk.)

ISBN 978-1-118-28192-5 (e-bk.)

ISBN 978-1-118-28530-5 (e-bk.)

1. Psychology. I. Weiner, Irving B.

BF121.H213 2013



Editorial Board

Volume 1
History of Psychology
Donald K. Freedheim, PhD
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio
Volume 2
Research Methods in Psychology
John A. Schinka, PhD
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida
Wayne F. Velicer, PhD
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island
Volume 3
Behavioral Neuroscience
Randy J. Nelson, PhD
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
Sheri J. Y. Mizumori, PhD
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
Volume 4
Experimental Psychology
Alice F. Healy, PhD
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
Robert W. Proctor, PhD
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Volume 5
Personality and Social Psychology
Howard Tennen, PhD
University of Connecticut Health Center
Farmington, Connecticut
Jerry Suls, PhD
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Volume 6
Developmental Psychology
Richard M. Lerner, PhD
M. Ann Easterbrooks, PhD
Jayanthi Mistry, PhD
Tufts University
Medford, Massachusetts
Volume 7
Educational Psychology
William M. Reynolds, PhD
Humboldt State University
Arcata, California
Gloria E. Miller, PhD
University of Denver
Denver, Colorado
Volume 8
Clinical Psychology
George Stricker, PhD
Argosy University DC
Arlington, Virginia
Thomas A. Widiger, PhD
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Volume 9
Health Psychology
Arthur M. Nezu, PhD
Christine Maguth Nezu, PhD
Pamela A. Geller, PhD
Drexel University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Volume 10
Assessment Psychology
John R. Graham, PhD
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
Jack A. Naglieri, PhD
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Volume 11
Forensic Psychology
Randy K. Otto, PhD
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida
Volume 12
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Neal W. Schmitt, PhD
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Scott Highhouse, PhD
Bowling Green State University

Handbook of Psychology Preface

The first edition of the 12-volume Handbook of Psychology was published in 2003 to provide a comprehensive overview of the current status and anticipated future directions of basic and applied psychology and to serve as a reference source and textbook for the ensuing decade. With 10 years having elapsed, and psychological knowledge and applications continuing to expand, the time has come for this second edition to appear. In addition to well-referenced updating of the first edition content, this second edition of the Handbook reflects the fresh perspectives of some new volume editors, chapter authors, and subject areas. However, the conceptualization and organization of the Handbook, as stated next, remain the same.

Psychologists commonly regard their discipline as the science of behavior, and the pursuits of behavioral scientists range from the natural sciences to the social sciences and embrace a wide variety of objects of investigation. Some psychologists have more in common with biologists than with most other psychologists, and some have more in common with sociologists than with most of their psychological colleagues. Some psychologists are interested primarily in the behavior of animals, some in the behavior of people, and others in the behavior of organizations. These and other dimensions of difference among psychological scientists are matched by equal if not greater heterogeneity among psychological practitioners, who apply a vast array of methods in many different settings to achieve highly varied purposes. This 12-volume Handbook of Psychology captures the breadth and diversity of psychology and encompasses interests and concerns shared by psychologists in all branches of the field. To this end, leading national and international scholars and practitioners have collaborated to produce 301 authoritative and detailed chapters covering all fundamental facets of the discipline.

Two unifying threads run through the science of behavior. The first is a common history rooted in conceptual and empirical approaches to understanding the nature of behavior. The specific histories of all specialty areas in psychology trace their origins to the formulations of the classical philosophers and the early experimentalists, and appreciation for the historical evolution of psychology in all of its variations transcends identifying oneself as a particular kind of psychologist. Accordingly, Volume 1 in the Handbook, again edited by Donald Freedheim, is devoted to the History of Psychology as it emerged in many areas of scientific study and applied technology.

A second unifying thread in psychology is a commitment to the development and utilization of research methods suitable for collecting and analyzing behavioral data. With attention both to specific procedures and to their application in particular settings, Volume 2, again edited by John Schinka and Wayne Velicer, addresses Research Methods in Psychology.

Volumes 3 through 7 of the Handbook present the substantive content of psychological knowledge in five areas of study. Volume 3, which addressed Biological Psychology in the first edition, has in light of developments in the field been retitled in the second edition to cover Behavioral Neuroscience. Randy Nelson continues as editor of this volume and is joined by Sheri Mizumori as a new co-editor. Volume 4 concerns Experimental Psychology and is again edited by Alice Healy and Robert Proctor. Volume 5 on Personality and Social Psychology has been reorganized by two new co-editors, Howard Tennen and Jerry Suls. Volume 6 on Developmental Psychology is again edited by Richard Lerner, Ann Easterbrooks, and Jayanthi Mistry. William Reynolds and Gloria Miller continue as co-editors of Volume 7 on Educational Psychology.

Volumes 8 through 12 address the application of psychological knowledge in five broad areas of professional practice. Thomas Widiger and George Stricker continue as co-editors of Volume 8 on Clinical Psychology. Volume 9 on Health Psychology is again co-edited by Arthur Nezu, Christine Nezu, and Pamela Geller. Continuing to co-edit Volume 10 on Assessment Psychology are John Graham and Jack Naglieri. Randy Otto joins the Editorial Board as the new editor of Volume 11 on Forensic Psychology. Also joining the Editorial Board are two new co-editors, Neal Schmitt and Scott Highhouse, who have reorganized Volume 12 on Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

The Handbook of Psychology was prepared to educate and inform readers about the present state of psychological knowledge and about anticipated advances in behavioral science research and practice. To this end, the Handbook volumes address the needs and interests of three groups. First, for graduate students in behavioral science, the volumes provide advanced instruction in the basic concepts and methods that define the fields they cover, together with a review of current knowledge, core literature, and likely future directions. Second, in addition to serving as graduate textbooks, the volumes offer professional psychologists an opportunity to read and contemplate the views of distinguished colleagues concerning the central thrusts of research and the leading edges of practice in their respective fields. Third, for psychologists seeking to become conversant with fields outside their own specialty and for persons outside of psychology seeking information about psychological matters, the Handbook volumes serve as a reference source for expanding their knowledge and directing them to additional sources in the literature.

The preparation of this Handbook was made possible by the diligence and scholarly sophistication of 24 volume editors and co-editors who constituted the Editorial Board. As Editor-in-Chief, I want to thank each of these colleagues for the pleasure of their collaboration in this project. I compliment them for having recruited an outstanding cast of contributors to their volumes and then working closely with these authors to achieve chapters that will stand each in their own right as valuable contributions to the literature. Finally, I would like to thank Brittany White for her exemplary work as my administrator for our manuscript management system, and the editorial staff of John Wiley & Sons for encouraging and helping bring to fruition this second edition of the Handbook, particularly Patricia Rossi, Executive Editor, and Kara Borbely, Editorial Program Coordinator.

Irving B. Weiner Tampa, Florida

Volume Preface

This volume of the Handbook is devoted to the fields of personality and social psychology. The first 10 chapters capture the breadth and depth, achievements and promise of personality psychology. Six of the chapters in this section cover topics addressed in the Handbook's first edition: the genetics of personality, the biological bases of personality, psychodynamic models, Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory, self-regulatory perspectives on personality, and interpersonal theory of personality. The four other section chapters cover topics new to the Handbook: the Five-Factor Model, the Cognitive-Affective Processing System, personality trait development in adulthood, and personality strengths. Together, these chapters convey the vitality and rigor of modern personality psychology.

This section opens with a sweeping overview by Susan South, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud, Nicholas Eaton, and Robert Krueger of the state of the science in the application of quantitative behavior genetics and molecular genetics to the study of personality. Their review of twin and adoption studies conveys forcefully that variation in personality is due to both genetic and environmental sources. The second half of this chapter introduces the reader to the relatively young field of the molecular genetics of personality, including its most popular methods, candidate gene analysis, linkage analysis, and genome-wide association studies. South, Reichborn-Kjennerud, Eaton, and Krueger demonstrate how these methods are informing our understanding of gene-gene interactions, the interplay of genes and environment, and the role of genetic influences across the lifespan, and they make a compelling case for the continued application of twin and adoption studies and molecular genetic methods in personality psychology.

Expanding the logic of genetic underpinnings of personality to the neurochemical and physiological domains, Marvin Zuckerman presents in exquisite detail evidence from genetic, electrophysiological, and brain imaging investigations. Zuckerman reviews extensive evidence from animal and human studies to demonstrate how extraversion, sensation seeking/impulsivity, and aggression are associated with approach behavior, whereas neuroticism is associated with withdrawal-avoidance. He traces the study of the biological foundations of personality from Eysenck's “top-down” approach to Gray's “bottom-up” approach, while revealing the biological mechanisms of behavioral approach and inhibition underlying human personality.

In their chapter on psychodynamic models of personality, Robert Bornstein, Christy Denckla, and Wei-Jean Chung remind us that there are various psychodynamic models, including Freud's topographic and structural models, object relations theory and self-psychology, neo-analytic frameworks, and several contemporary perspectives. In reviewing these models, Bornstein and colleagues underscore that despite differences, psychodynamic models share three core assumptions: the primacy of the unconscious, the importance of early experiences, and psychic causality. While acknowledging that psychodynamic theorists' devotion to idiographic methods and evidence derived in the treatment context has prompted criticism, they also point to the recent rigorous empirical testing of psychoanalytic constructs and the development and continued refinement of empirically validated psychoanalytic treatments. These recent scientifically based efforts by psychodynamic investigators deserve the attention of skeptics. Empirically guided refinements to psychodynamic theory have, as Bornstein and colleagues note, strengthened its ties to cognitive psychology, health psychology, and attachment theory, as psychodynamic models of personality continue to evolve.

Psychoanalytic theory has a long tradition in literary criticism, but as Robert McCrae, James Gaines, and Marie Wellington note in their chapter on the Five-Factor Model (FFM), literary critics have typically not kept abreast of advances in psychological theory and investigation. McCrae and colleagues offer compelling evidence that literary critics would do well by applying the methods and findings of contemporary trait psychology to questions about genres, literary periods, individual authors, and the interpretation of literary characters, and they offer stimulating illustrations of FFM personality profiles applied to the protagonists from works of Goethe, Molière, and Voltaire. In making their case, McCrae and colleagues provide an enlightening overview of the FFM, including commonly held misconceptions, they summarize what is known about how FFM traits function in people's lives, and they offer McCrae and Costa's Five-Factor Theory to organize the FFM empirical literature.

Cognitive-experiential self-theory (CEST) substitutes an adaptive unconscious for the Freudian unconscious. Seymour Epstein, who developed and elaborated CEST over the past three decades, explains with great clarity how the unconscious of CEST, referred to as the experiential system, is an associative learning processing system, whereas CEST's rational system allows people to process information through verbal reasoning. Although the systems usually operate in harmony, Epstein reveals the many ways they can conflict. Through evocative examples, he argues convincingly that although people show a remarkable ability to solve impersonal problems, the influence of the experiential system on the rational system can account for our widely acknowledged irrationality when attempting to solve relationship problems. Epstein concludes this chapter by documenting the wide-ranging implications of CEST for important issues within and beyond personality psychology, including intuition, heuristics, emotional intelligence, the relation of personality to physical disease, the meaning of dreams, psychobiography, and the ability to think objectively.

In their far-reaching chapter on self-regulatory perspectives, Charles Carver and Michael Scheier bring concepts of cybernetics to the study of personality, with a focus on the self-regulation of action and emotion. Their self-regulation model provides a perspective on questions such as how people create actions from their intentions and desires, how they persist until they achieve their goals, how they decide whether to work for a longer-term goal, and how goal progress relates to emotional experience. A provocative feature of Carver and Scheier's self-regulatory perspective is that valence is not the determinant of the dimensional structure of affects. Rather, the nature of the motivational process determines the dimensional structure, with affects arrayed as related to approach of incentives or to avoidance of threats. The dual process models of self-regulation depicted by Carver and Scheier involve a relatively reflexive and automatic set of processes producing one understanding of reality, and a deliberative and planful set of processes that yields a separate understanding of reality. As in Epstein's CEST, described above, these two understandings of reality can lead to different and even conflicting action tendencies. Carver and Scheier's ideas drawn from dynamic systems and catastrophe theories hold great promise for the future elaboration of self-regulatory models of personality.

Interpersonal theory now provides a context in which psychologists study psychotherapy, psychopathology, and behavioral contributions to health, as well as personality. Moving beyond the individual as the focus of study, interpersonal theory, as elaborated by Aaron Pincus and Emily Ansell in their conceptually rich chapter, stipulates that personality expresses itself in phenomena involving more than one person, that interpersonal situations occur both between individuals as well as in the minds of those individuals, that agency and communion provide a heuristic structure in which to conceptualize interpersonal situations, and that chronic deviations from complementarity in interpersonal situations may indicate psychopathology. Pincus and Ansell articulate the key thematic and dynamic concepts and the central developmental, motivational, and regulatory concepts of contemporary interpersonal theory, and they demonstrate how the interpersonal circumplex model provides a descriptive map of interpersonal constructs, and how interpersonal theory is poised to advance research on personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy.

Mischel and Shoda's Cognitive Affective Processing System (CAPS) is the centerpiece among current “social-cognitive” personality theories. Lara Kammrath and Abigail Scholer review the functional utility of the CAPS perspective, and its unique ability to provide three critical aspects of personality information—prediction, explanation, and interpersonal influence. They distinguish CAPS from trait models of personality, and demonstrate how in CAPS theory, if…then…situation-behavior signatures provide a singular opportunity to understand the perceptions, goals, and feelings that motivate an individual's characteristic behaviors. Kammrath and Scholer illustrate how other current approaches to personality, including attachment theory, mindset theory, and regulatory focus theory are consistent with the CAPS framework, and they document the implications of a functionalist approach to CAPS for understanding behavior and the nature of behavior change.

Although trait theories rest on the assumption that people have relatively enduring patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that distinguish one person from another, only relatively recently has an evidence base been established to evaluate this assumption. In their chapter on personality trait development in adulthood, Brent Roberts, M. Brent Donnellan, and Patrick Hill review the evidence indicating that personality traits are both consistent over time and yet change systematically in adulthood. They review the evidence pointing to at least moderate-sized test-retest coefficients for personality traits across the life span, and they make a convincing case that on average, individuals become more confident, warm, responsible, and emotionally stable as they grow older. Roberts, Donnellan, and Hill also document the importance of individual differences in this general pattern of change over the life span. They posit intriguing mechanisms that may promote personality consistency, and a different set of mechanisms that may explain how personality changes occur. The implications of personality change processes are striking because they suggest, as Roberts and colleagues demonstrate, that relatively small changes in a trait may produce significant changes in people's lives.

With the recent renewed interest in positive psychology, there is now an increasingly strong evidence base on which to consider the issue of personality strengths. In the final chapter of this section, Laura King and Jason Trent address the topic of personality strengths by grappling with whether it makes sense to think of personality characteristics as strengths. King and Trent define personality strengths as situation-specific assets that promote adjustment, and they demonstrate a number of unanticipated challenges associated with approaching personality characteristics as strengths. In questioning the wisdom of thinking about personality from a strengths perspective, King and Trent traverse a broad and stimulating expanse of personality psychology, including motivation, goal pursuit, self-regulation, ego development, and person-situation fit.

These 10 chapters reflect both the vitality of today's personality psychology and its challenges. What is clear and encouraging for personality psychology is that these chapters are not conceptual and empirical silos, and they do not pit one perspective against another. Rather, the reader will be struck by the cross-cutting themes and attention to related literatures. Unconscious processes, though not Freud's dynamic unconscious, are highlighted in several of these chapters, as is self-regulation, and the idea that people not only respond to situations, but help create the situations to which they respond. Advances in behavior genetics and neurobiology have become clearly welcomed contributions rather than reductionistic threats. These chapters reveal that personality psychology has reached a level of maturity that allows it to borrow concepts and methods from cybernetics, genetics, neurobiology, and from diverse areas of investigation within the field of personality. They also demonstrate that more than ever, personality psychology is moving beyond the study of variables to the study of people in their life contexts.

The second section of Volume 5 consists of 14 chapters authored by some of the most respected contemporary researchers who present a wide-ranging survey of empirical and theoretical accomplishments of social psychology. Eleven of the chapters in this section cover topics addressed in the Handbook's first edition: social cognition, attitudes, the social self, persuasion, social influence, close relationships, altruism and prosocial behavior, social conflict and harmony, prejudice, justice, and aggression. Three other chapters represent topics that are new to the Handbook, but which have become prominent in recent years: cultural social psychology, emotional regulation, and evolutionary social psychology. Altogether, these chapters provide a comprehensive picture of social psychology past and present with glimmers of the future!

In Chapter 11, Galen Bodenhausen and Javier R. Morales contribute a concise overview of social cognition and perception—the psychological processes through which individuals construct a meaningful understanding of their social environment. The authors explain why construal of the social world, rather than the objective circumstances, controls much of a person's behavior and why social cognition probably evolved from early pressures in human history experienced by living in complex social communities. The core mental representations and processes contributing to these construals are described and reasons why they often emerge rapidly, automatically and unconsciously. The theme of automaticity and unconscious, or implicit, processes arises in several other chapters and represents one of the key features of contemporary social psychology. Four topics with implications for social impressions are given special attention: attribution processes, automatic inferences based on social cues (e.g., physical appearance), projection, and stereotyping. The authors also discuss how person perception is manifested and shaped by the types of relationships formed with others and the culture in which one resides, thus emphasizing the “social” in social cognition.

In their chapter on the self, Roy Baumeister, E. J. Masicampo, and Jean Twenge describe the reciprocal forces operating between self and others; in fact, they argue that the self scarcely has meaning except in the context of other people. For example, self-esteem primarily reflects the degree to which one feels accepted by others. Feeling excluded can provoke aggression, self-defeating behaviors (e.g., substance use), and cognitive impairment, and so on, but may also increase the motivation to reconnect with other people. Empirical evidence is reviewed that shows the lengths to which people adopt cognitive, affective and behavioral strategies to protect or enhance their sense of self. High self-esteem, however, can have a “dark-side”; if someone disputes this inflated sense of self, the person may lash out. Several factors contribute to self-esteem, including reflected appraisal (i.e., what the person thinks others think of them), interpersonal expectancies, and self-fulfilling prophecies. Beyond intrapsychic causes, people are motivated to present a public self to obtain receive social approval or other gains. Several strategies of self-presentation that have been experimentally shown to accomplish these goals are described. In the concluding section, the authors emphasize that the sense of the self is significantly affected by both the era and culture in which the person lives. For example, society's current focus on high self-esteem and individualism, as evidenced by survey and experimental results, seems connected to the “Generation Me” milieu.

As Gregory Maio, James Olson, and Irene Cheung observe in their chapter, attitudes are central to social psychological research. Attitudes refer to tendencies to evaluate a particular target with favor or disfavor. Although attitudes share features with constructs like values, attitudes are distinct in their scope, origin, and consequences. Different types of approaches to assess attitudes have been developed over the decades, with the most recent innovations (and controversy) focusing on the distinction between explicit (e.g., verbal self-report scales) and implicit (unconscious) measures (reaction-time based tasks) of attitude. The authors also devote attention to the content, structure, and function of attitudes, interrelations among attitudes, and the relations with values and ideologies, the latter two concepts recently receiving renewed interest from social psychologists. The chapter concludes with a lucid discussion of the relation between attitudes and behavior, a persistent and challenging question about the social psychology implications of application.

Social influence is pervasive although sometimes it is “hidden in plain sight.” In Chapter 14, Donelson R. Forsyth describes social influence as a foundational social psychological concept operating via the actual, imagined, or even implied presence of others. Inspired by early research on the psychology of crowds, norms, reference groups, and leadership, three categories of influence are usually distinguished: conformity, compliance, and obedience. Experimental studies confirm that both the need for social approval and the need to reduce uncertainty prompt people to conform to others' standards, but dissenting individuals, under special circumstances, can eventually inspire large opinion changes in the majority. Compliance, like conformity, involves a change in opinions, judgments, or actions, but in response to deliberate influence attempts that are often quite subtle, such as the “foot in the door” tactic or the “that's-not-all” tactic (often employed by salespeople). Obedience, in contrast, involves direct commands from someone in a position of greater social power. Milgram's classic research on destructive obedience illustrates how problematic social influence can be. However, as Forsyth observes, “Social influence…is neither morally suspect nor commendable, but instead a highly functional interpersonal process that provides humans with the means to coordinate their actions, to identify solutions to communal problems that require a collective response…” (p. 324).

In Chapter 15, Margaret Clark and Nancy Grote selectively survey the social psychology of close relationships. Although relationships between spouses and between parents and children probably first come to mind, in fact, there are many other kinds of relationships that can be described in this way. Benefits in such relationships include help, supporting pursuit of goals, celebrating a partner's accomplishments and not taking actions that might harm the other, and communicating support symbolically. The authors discuss factors that facilitate the need for, initiation of, and development of close relationships. Certain intra- and interpersonal processes seem to characterize established close relationships, but providing noncontingent benefits is one of the primary features. Nonetheless, the degree of responsibility one assumes for the other may vary and the nature of other close relationships also figures into the complex dynamics. One of the most intriguing features about close relationships is observed when the needs of the other take precedence over one's own needs. In light of the complexity of this reciprocal “dance,” it should not be surprising that some close relationships experience dissolution, a topic also considered by the authors.

In Chapter 16, Monica Biernat and Kelly Danaher describe theories, findings, and societal implications of research on prejudice—negative attitudes toward a group and its members. Several approaches for understanding the origins of prejudice have been advanced—intergroup, normative, evolutionary, and motivational—but there is overlap among them. It is observed that most views center on an antipathy view of prejudice, but more recent conceptions propose that “out of role” behavior also engenders prejudice. Different explanations suggest distinct approaches to reducing prejudice, which include intergroup contact, common ingroup identity or dual identity, perspective taking and empathy, and explicit debiasing approaches—all of which have had some efficacy in research. The chapter also considers how prejudice is perceived and its consequences, such as the effects on performance (via stereotype threat).

Persuasion has been a preoccupation of social psychologists for several decades and continues to lead to new conceptual and empirical insights with significant societal applications. In Chapter 17, Richard Petty, S. Christian Wheeler, and Zakary Tormala survey this vast literature using the distinction between effortful thinking versus reliance on less cognitively demanding processes, such as heuristics, as a framework. The dual-process perspective, for which the senior author was one of the pioneers, accomplishes several things: it predicts what variables should affect attitudes and in what situations, and it identifies in which domains different specific theories of attitude change, such as cognitive dissonance versus self-perception, most appropriately apply.

Chapter 18, authored by Gal Sheppes and James Gross, introduces a new topic, emotional regulation, to the Handbook. The authors explain how emotional regulation emphasizes the ways individuals directly affect what, when, and how they experience and express emotions. The generation of affect is proposed to occur in a series of stages that are subject to different regulatory strategies. The authors review recent data demonstrating that regulation strategies that intervene early on are likely to be more effective than strategies that intervene later on, after emotional response tendencies are activated. Furthermore, the success of any particular emotion regulation attempt is a joint function of the underlying operation of different regulation strategies, emotional intensity, and goals.

Chapter 19, by Linda Skitka and Daniel Wisneski, describes psychological factors implicated in the perception of fairness and justice from the earliest conceptions to recent theories. The authors observe that the social psychology of justice has been guided by five functionalist metaphors: people as lay or intuitive economists, politicians, scientists, prosecutors, and theologians. Justice research inspired by these metaphors is systematically reviewed to understand, What is fair? In the conclusion, the authors propose their functional pluralism framework, which accounts for diverse results because it posits that people reason about fairness as economists, politicians, scientists, prosecutors, or theologians, depending on their frame of reference and goals.

John Dovidio, Samuel Gaertner, Elena Wright Mayville, and Sylvia Perry, authors of Chapter 20, introduce a brief history of the study of intergroup relations, followed by a survey about how cognitive, motivational, interpersonal, and social processes can contribute to the development of intergroup bias and social conflict. The authors then explain how understanding of these processes has guided the development of functional and common group identity interventions, and has had some success in reducing intergroup bias and facilitating social integration between previously hostile groups. Acknowledging the complexities associated with achieving social harmony, Dovidio and colleagues acknowledge no single perspective can suffice, but argue convincingly that taking into account both psychological and structural factors provides a more comprehensive view of intergroup relations with implications for laypeople and policy makers.

In Chapter 21, Nathan DeWall, Craig Anderson, and Brad Bushman survey classic and contemporary aggression research. They begin by providing a definition of aggression distinguishing it from related constructs, such as anger, antisocial behavior and violence. Then five theoretical perspectives are described (along with empirical research) from the earliest, frustration-aggression theory, learning theory, excitation-transfer theory, information processing theories, cognitive neo-association theory, and finally the general aggression model, which integrates the best insights of preceding models. Individual differences in aggressive predisposition, the development of aggression and situational factors increasing aggression also are described, followed by a discussion of promising methods to prevent aggression.

Chapter 22, authored by Mark Snyder and Patrick Dwyer, is concerned with altruism and prosocial behavior. The original research in this area inquired about the factors that discourage bystanders from intervening to help other in emergencies (i.e., one-to-one helping). The authors discuss the (sometimes subtle) psychological factors, revealed by experimental research, that inhibit people from helping, such as diffusion of responsibility. However, since then, researchers also have considered collective forms of prosocial behavior, such as volunteerism and participation in social movements. Several factors instigate prosocial behavior, but one that is controversial is the existence of altruism as a truly selfless motivation that improves another person's welfare. Snyder and Dwyer explain that whether the helper is motivated by self- or other-oriented concerns, or both, prosocial action proves to be beneficial to the recipients and to society.

In Chapter 23, Jon Maner and Andrew Menzel write about evolutionary social psychology, another new topic for the Handbook of Psychology. Its inclusion is more than appropriate as the advocates of the evolutionary perspective in the past decade and a half have illuminated almost every domain in social psychology, from close relationships and persuasion to social influence and social cognition. Evolutionary social psychologists posit that social behaviors represent adaptations or mechanisms designed through natural and sexual selection to serve specific functions related to reproductive success. For example, cooperative behavior in animals and humans is more likely to occur among individuals who are genetically related. This is because benefits shared with kin members imply indirect genetic benefits to oneself. Maner and Menzel describe how an evolutionary perspective can elucidate and provide new insights about the nature of coalition formation, social status hierarchies, self-protection from threat, mating relationships, and parental care. In their final section, they discuss the intriguing relationships between evolution and shifts in culture.

Joan Miller and Patrick Boyle, in Chapter 24, review developments in cultural social psychology, a topic currently receiving intense interest from social psychologists and the lay public. Although this has been an area of inquiry for decades, it has had a resurgence, perhaps prompted by increasing globalization. The central question of cultural psychology is how different social practices, attitudes and feelings emerge and operate in different cultures. Rather than conceiving of culture as simply adding on to foundational and universal psychological processes (the conventional perspective), culture plays a major role in the emergence of all higher order psychological processes. The authors elaborate on the latter viewpoint by describing how cultural meanings and practices affect the form of psychological processes in the areas of self-processes, attribution, cognition, motivation, emotion, morality, attachment, and relationships with empirical examples drawn from cultures all over the globe. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges and future promise of cultural social psychology.

As in the Personality section, these chapters attest to the high level of activity, rigor, diversified methods and increased sophistication in the field of social psychology. Also, the chapters reflect several cross-cutting themes. These include the role of implicit processes and automaticity, recognition of the vital role of culture, and contribution of biology and evolution to social behavior. Finally, it is clear that social psychology as a discipline has provided many insights and practical suggestions to help improve well-being and facilitate the development of a productive and humane society.

Howard Tennen Jerry Suls


Craig A. Anderson, PhD
Department of Psychology
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa
Emily B. Ansell, PhD
Department of Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, Connecticut
Roy F. Baumeister, PhD
Department of Psychology
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
Monica Biernat, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
Galen V. Bodenhausen, PhD
Department of Psychology
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
Robert F. Bornstein, PhD
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York
Patrick J. Boyle, PhD
Department of Psychology
New School for Social Research
New York, New York
Brad J. Bushman, PhD
Department of Communication
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
Charles S. Carver, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida
Irene Cheung
Department of Psychology
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
Wei-Jean Chung, MA
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York
Margaret S. Clark, PhD
Department of Psychology
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
Kelly Danaher, MA
Department of Psychology
Iowa Wesleyan College
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
Christy A. Denckla, MA
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York
C. Nathan DeWall, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky

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