Affective Responses

During the early 1970s, Mischel's theory was mostly a cognitive theory. It was based on the assumption that people's thoughts and other cognitive processes hiteract with a particular situation to determine behavior. Shice then, however, Mischel and

colleagues (Mischel & Ayduk, 2002; Mischel & Shoda, 1998, 1999) have added affective responses to the list of important cognitive-affective units. Affective responses include emotions, feelings, and physiological reactions. Mischel sees affective responses as inseparable from cognitions and regards the interlocking cognitive-affective units as more basic than the other cognitive-affective units.

Affective responses, then, do not exist in isolation. Not only are they inseparable from cognitive processes, but also they influence each of the other cognitive-affective units. For example, the

One reason for the inconsistency in people's behavior is their encoding of a person s inability to predict the behavior of others. yiew Qf ^ indudes cer_

tain positive and negative feelings. "I see myself as a competent psychology student and that pleases me." "I'm not very good at mathematics and I don't like that." Similarly, people's competencies and cophig strategies, then beliefs and expectancies, and their goals and values are all colored by then affective responses.

Mischel and Shoda (1995) stated that:

Cognitive-affective representations are not unconnected discrete units that are simply elicited as "responses" in isolation: These cognitive representations and affective states interact dynamically and influence each other reciprocally, and it is the organization of the relationships among them that forms the core of the personality structure and that guides and constrains their impact, (p. 253)

In summary, interrelated cognitive-affective units contribute to behavior as they hiteract with stable personality traits and a receptive environment. The most important of these variables include (1) encoding strategies, or how people construe or categorize an event; (2) competencies and self-regulating strategies: that is, what people can do and their strategies and plans to accomplish a desired behavior; (3) behavior-outcome and stimulus-outcome expectancies and beliefs regarding a particular situation; (4) subjective goals, values, and preferences that partially determine selective attention to events; and (5) affective responses, including feelings and emotions as well as the affects that accompany physiological reactions.

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Anxiety and Depression 101

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