Psychologist Walter Mischel developed a cognitive social learning approach to personality that presents a serious challenge to traditional theories and their central tenet that behavior can be predicted from a few widely generalized traits. In his influential book Personality and Assessment (1968), Mischel reviewed the literature on personality traits. Personality traits can be defined as a stable disposition to behave in a given way over time and across situations. Although Mischel found impressive consistencies for some attributes, such as intelligence, the vast majority of behavior patterns were not consistent, even in highly similar situations. Mischel concluded that behavior is largely determined by situational variables that interact in complex ways with individual modes of information processing. Stable features in behavior result from acquired cognitive person variables (relatively stable individual differences that influence how people interact with their world).
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