Cognitive-Affective Processing System (CAPS)

The cognitive-affective processing system (CAPS) is a theory of personality that emphasizes the importance of situational variables and the cognitive qualities of the individual on the development of personality. Developed by Mischel and Shoda, there are five cognitive-affective units that influence how we process information. These individual cognitive qualities influence behavior and how a person interacts with the environment.

The five cognitive-affective units are encoding (how information is processed, stored, and used), beliefs/expectations (what outcomes an individual expects from their actions), goals/values (life goals and rewards for behavior), affect (how a person reacts emotionally), and competencies/self-regulation (general intelligence, knowledge, and abilities). These units vary between individuals and personality develops according to how these cognitive-affective qualities interact with situational variables and the environment.

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