Interactionism, idiographics, and the social psychological invasion of personality

Douglas Kenrick, Arthur Dantchik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


The present paper discusses three recent developments in the field of Personality: (1) an infusion of social psychologists, (2) a proliferation of interactionist models, (3) the development of methodological strategies combining nomothetic and idiographic approaches. Advantages and disadvantages of these developments are discussed, and three problems associated with them are addressed: (1) an overemphasis on phenomenology, (2) an overemphasis on idiosyncracy, and (3) an unsatisfactory level of theory development. It is concluded that the present developments have had a stimulating effect on the field but they need to be integrated with the traditional personological goals of: (1) developing taxonomy of individuals (as well as a taxonomy of interactions) and (2) developing a more satisfactory theory of the whole organism within which to embed our minitheories. We recommend that such a theory attempt to incorporate the insights of the social learning and social cognition approaches with the recent and exciting developments in evolutionary theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-307
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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