Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 479
Control processes/CAPS/Cognitive-Affective Processing System/self-regulation/Shoda/Smith: The cognitive-affective components are interconnected. The >encoding units respond to specific aspects of the situation (producing the psychological situation) and the encodings both influence and are affected by other units (expectancies, goals, affects).
The total pattern of activations and inhibitions results in certain behaviours, which may themselves alter the situation. In the CAPS model, the focus is not just on ‘how much’ of a particular unit (e.g., self-efficacy belief, performance anxiety, mastery goal orientation) a person has, but in how these cognitive-affective units are organized with one another within the person, forming a network of interconnections that can operate, in a parallel rather than serial manner, at multiple levels of accessibility, awareness and automaticity. Individuals differ stably and uniquely in this network of interconnections or associations, and such differences constitute a major aspect of personality (Mischel and Shoda 1995(1); Shoda and Mischel 1998(2)).
For a given individual the likelihood that a particular feature of a situation triggers thought A, which leads to thought B, emotion C, and behaviour D may be relatively stable and predictable, reflecting a network of chronically accessible associations among cognitions and affects available to that individual. Thus, the CAPS model posits an internal set of if...then...relations as well the external situation-behaviour if...then...relations (…), and the cognitions and affects that are activated at a given time depend on situations, either internal or external to an individual.
The system that underlies an individual’s cognitive-affective and behavioural dynamics typically contains extensive internal feedback loops, meaning that ‘downstream’ units can activate ‘upstream’ units, generating a flow of thoughts, feelings and even behaviours without necessarily requiring an outside stimulus.
For example, the many beliefs we maintain are not independent of each other, but support one another in a way that helps us ‘make sense’ of the world and constitutes a personal philosophy of life. Further, components of a belief system are related to affective reactions, goals and values, and behaviours in a way that forms a coherent organic whole (Shoda and Smith 2004)(3). >Networks/Shoda/Smith.



1. Mischel, W. and Shoda, Y. 1995. A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure, Psychological Review 102: 246–68
2. Shoda, Y. and Mischel, W. 1998. Personality as a stable cognitive-affective activation network: characteristic patterns of behaviour variation emerge from a stable personality structure, in S. J. Read and L. C. Miller (eds.), Connectionist and PDP models of social reasoning and social behaviour, pp. 175–208. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
3. Shoda, Y. and Smith, R. E. 2004. Conceptualizing personality as a cognitive-affective processing system: a framework for models of maladaptive behaviour patterns and change, Behaviour Therapy 35: 147–65


Ronald E. Smith and Yuichi Shoda, “Personality as a cognitive-affective processing system“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Shoda, Yuichi
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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