Theoretical Divergences in the Person-Situation Debate

An Alternative Perspective
  • Philip K. Peake


Over the last two decades, personality psychology has struggled with a set of issues that lie at the very core of the discipline. These issues, and I wish to emphasize that the issues are many, have fallen under the general rubric of the person-situation debate. In his article, Hyland argues that the debate is primarily a methodological rather than a theoretical one, that the main contributions of the debate are limited to increased attentiveness to situational influences and the size of the class of behaviors being explained, and that the term interaction is repeatedly used in a fashion that is quite misleading. As with so many other discussions of this topic, I find myself less concerned with the specifics of Hyland’s commentary than with his reading of the debate from which they derive. Hence, in the present discussion, I will deal with but a few of Hyland’s more important points in the context of an alternative perspective of the history, sources, and nature of the person-situation debate.


Theoretical Divergence Radical Behaviorist Personality Psychology Theoretical Difference Interactional Perspective 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip K. Peake
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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