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Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 4–13 | Cite as

Looking for B = f (P, E): The exception still forms the rule

  • Richard M. Sorrentino
Original Paper

Abstract

In this manuscript, the origin of studying human motivation from a personality by situation perspective is discussed. It follows a thread from Galileo to Newton to Lewin to Atkinson to our own research and theory. Its major emphasis is that theories of motivation may benefit by looking at exceptions to the rule, mainly those who may not conform to a theory’s dictates. As with Galileo, by looking at these exceptions, the true rule may emerge. Using our own research, and that of our predecessors, as examples, we illustrate how many theories in social psychology may hold only for a small segment of the population and arguments are presented to explain why person by situation interactions could alter these theories. A cursory examination of current research on personality or situation versus personality and situation is then presented. The manuscript ends by showing that even personality by situation interactions may be moderated by yet another exception to the rule: culture.

Keywords

Motivation Cognition Affect Uncertainty orientation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author thanks the editors and publishers of Motivation and Emotion for publishing this and future Presidential Addresses of The Society in this journal. The author thanks Yang Ye, Andrew Szeto, Johnmarshall Reeve, and some anonymous reviewers for their help making this a better manuscript.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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