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The State of the Story in Personality Psychology



Personality psychologists have been studying narratives for decades. Their work offers significant insights into the meaning of the stories people tell. This article highlights some historical antecedents as well as the latest research findings from the growing area of personality psychology that focuses on narrative approaches. First, narrative research in personality shows that imaginative stories reveal enduring implicit motivations linked to affect, thought, and behavior. Second, autobiographical stories play a significant role in self-development and personal identity formation. The narration of one's story is a process influenced over the life span by age-related capacities and various psychological needs that occur in social and cultural contexts.