The authors propose an interpersonal social–cognitive theory of the self and personality, the relational self, in which knowledge about the self is linked with knowledge about significant others, and each linkage embodies a self–other relationship. Mental representations of significant others are activated and used in interpersonal encounters in the social–cognitive phenomenon of transference (S. M. Andersen & N. S. Glassman, 1996), and this evokes the relational self. Variability in relational selves depends on interpersonal contextual cues, whereas stability derives from the chronic accessibility of significant-other representations. Relational selves function in if–then terms (W. Mischel & Y. Shoda, 1995), in which ifs are situations triggering transference, and thens are relational selves. An individual’s repertoire of relational selves is a source of interpersonal patterns involving affect, motivation, self-evaluation, and self-regulation.
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