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Methodologies for Studying Personality Processes in Interpersonal Conflict

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The inevitability of conflict stems from three apparently-panhuman psychological tendencies: 1) People differ in their attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, and life experiences; 2) Such differences induce people to be egocentric, and often to have difficulty perceiving the perspectives of others; and 3) People are generally motivated to protect and promote their own self-interests. For this perspective, conflict is an emergent property of relationships that appears during interaction between two or more persons. Thus, understanding the influence of personality on social conflict must look past simple main effects models that focus on either situations or personality. This article discusses various research methods that can be used to assess personality's contribution to conflict behavior. It then focuses on statistical advances that recognize the complex nature of interactions between individual, their partners, and the situation when studying conflict.


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