Putting a Little Personality Into Social Psychology (and Vice-Versa)

The personal and the social intertwine inextricably. In a 2011 paper published in the European Journal of Personality, a group of psychological scientists note that when we talk about an individual’s personality, part of what we are talking about is how that individual interacts with others. Furthermore, the scientists write, “social relationships would not be such a challenging part of our lives if all people were equal in how they act, think, and feel” — that is, if all people were equal in their personalities (90). Over time, social experiences play an important role in shaping personality, and personality shapes social experiences, too.

Yet, according to lead author Mitja D. Back and his colleagues, scientists studying social interactions often fail to incorporate personality into their research, and scientists studying personality often fail to incorporate social factors. That’s why Back and colleagues have proposed PERSOC, “an integrative and unified framework for analyzing the complex dynamics of personality and social relationships” (90).

The PERSOC framework proposes principles and processes that can be applied to research on a variety of social relationships, such as friendships, working relationships, student-teacher interactions, and family relationships.

Scientists interested in the PERSOC framework may visit the project online to connect with other researchers and learn about ongoing PERSOC studies.

ResearchBlogging.orgBack, M., Baumert, A., Denissen, J., Hartung, F., Penke, L., Schmukle, S., Schönbrodt, F., Schröder-Abé, M., Vollmann, M., Wagner, J., & Wrzus, C. (2011). PERSOC: A unified framework for understanding the dynamic interplay of personality and social relationships European Journal of Personality, 25 (2), 90-107 DOI: 10.1002/per.811

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