By Walter Mischel

After many "out-of-print" years, this quantity has been reissued in line with an expanding call for for copies. This displays that the basic questions that stimulated this ebook thirty years in the past are nonetheless being requested. yet extra vital, the solutions -- or at the very least their outlines -- now appear to be in sight. In 1968, this e-book stood as an expression of a paradigm trouble in its critique of the country of character psychology. The final 3 many years were packed with controversy and debate concerning the dilemmas raised the following, after which with renewal and clean discoveries. It hence turns out specially well timed to revisit the pages which posed the demanding situations.

Mischel defined the necessity to surround the placement within the examine of character, yet with a spotlight at the got that means of stimuli and at the state of affairs as perceived, viewing the person as a cognitive-affective being who construes, translates, and transforms the stimulus in a dynamic reciprocal interplay with the social global. He interested in the idiographic research of character that had initially prompted the sphere, and the complexity, discriminative facility, and distinctiveness of the person, and sought to attach the expressions of character to the individual's habit -- that's, to what humans do and never simply what they say. Even the intrinsically contextualized "if...then..." expressions of the character method -- its crucial behavioral signatures -- have been foreshadowed during this publication that fired the hole salvo in a look for "a actually dynamic character psychology."

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This analysis, which proved to be so provocative and upsetting to the field, was widely taken as an attack on personality, rather than what I had intended it to be: a critique of the existing paradigm and a step toward the constructive reconceptualization of personality, as sketched in the remaining chapters. In this volume, I outlined the need to encompass the situation in the study of personality, but with a focus on the acquired meaning of stimuli and on the situation as perceived, viewing the individual as a cognitive-affective being who construes, interprets, and transforms the stimulus in a dynamic reciprocal interaction with the social world.

Books published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates are printed on acid-free paper, and their bindings are chosen for strength and durability. , Publishers 10 Industrial Avenue Mahwah, New Jersey 07430 Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 For Harriet, Judith, Rebecca, and Linda PREFACE When I started this book I intended to survey six or seven equally viable alternative theoretical approaches to personality and to examine the implications of each for personality assessment, psychotherapy, and research.

Many personality theorists, however, have conceptualized traits as underlying characteristics, qualities, or processes that do exist in persons (Allport, 1937, 1966). Thus, for some researchers traits are constructs, created by psychologists; for others they are real states in persons, the construct being the psychologist’s inference about the underlying attribute in the person. Generally traits have been viewed both as psychological realities that exist in some tangible form in the person and also as the causes of behavior (Allport, 1966; Cattell, 1950).

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