Why is an understanding of self-regulatory processes so important for grasping the nature of personality? We suggest that personality is revealed through motivated preferences and biases in both individuals' "ways of seeing" the world and their "ways of coping" in the world—two different kinds of sensitivities that can deﬁne personality (Higgins & Scholer, 2008). These sensitivities are most likely to be revealed in particular types of situations—in low demand situations ("out of nothing") and in high demand situations ("when the going gets tough"). Expectancies, needs, beliefs, and knowledge structures derived from past experiences affect the perception of objects, events, and other individuals in the world (e.g., Bartlett, 1932; Bruner, 1957; Kelly, 1955).
Scholer, Abigail, and E. Tory Higgins. "Regulatory focus in a demanding world." In Handbook of personality and self-regulation, 291-314. Ed. Rick H. Hoyle. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2010.
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