Behaviour specificity

We can not predict behaviours of a person all the way just on the basis of knowledge of his personality traits- Walter Mischel

Explain and elaborate the Walter Mischel’s idea of behavior specificity in this regard. 10 Marks

2 thoughts on “Behaviour specificity”

  1. Walter Mischel argued against trait and type approaches which focused solely on traits and typologies as determinants of personality.He suggested “behaviour specificity” which means that behaviour is determined by specific situation not just by trait consistency. He says that depending on the discriminative stimuli that is which situation we are in,what are the consequences etc we behave accordingly and not just according to the traits we possess.
    for ex. An extrovert child is assertive with a gentle understanding mother whereas stays more submissive in front of a dominant father as child learns to discriminate between situations.

    Mischel with Shoda reconstructed the idea of individual trait variations in context of cognitions and social learning giving rise to Cognitive Affective personality System(CAPS) which talks about both the 1)stability of personality and 2)variation of behavior across situations.

    They put personality as a stable system of traits and working as mediating process in selection ,construction, and processing of social information. This mediating process also interacts with individual mediating processes such as expectancy,plans etc. this in turn leads to behaviour. also behavior variability across situations exists which depends on psychological features of situations. for ex. loyalty is a stable trait displayed in varying degrees depending on the psychological assessment of the situation done by individual like if the environmment is trustworthy or full of enemity. Mischel says that stability in these beahvioral variability across situations is also seen which is a predictable indication of organization of personality system itself.

    hence mischel’s behavioral specificty gave rise to person situation debate and saw traits as only simplifying tools for understanding personality.

    1. Good answer!… The answer is comprehensive. Clarify specifically what are the factors that are mediated by personality traits of an conceived by Mischel.

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