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Walter Mischel
Robert Johnston Niven Professor
Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1956

General Area of Research

Personality structure, processes and development; self-control; personality inferences

Current Research

Self/Emotion Regulation
Current research efforts aim to a) explore the psychological, physiological, brain, and genetic mechanisms that underlie adaptive self/emotion regulation, and b) understand how these factors impact people's real-world behaviors and experiences in their efforts to self-regulate under "hot" emotion-arousing conditions. Along with our collaborators, we use a host of paradigms (e.g. longitudinal, diary, lab-based experimental, correlational) and methods (e.g. self-report, narratives, implicit, autonomic, fMRI) to address these questions, freely crossing disciplinary boundaries in areas that span personality, social, cognition, developmental, and cognitive-neuroscience, with continuing support by NIMH Merit Awards (1989-2009).

Personality Processes and Dynamics
In a separate, but related line of inquiry, members of our lab are actively involved in research exploring the structure, consistency, and stability of personality. In this vein, current research projects focus on developing methods of profiling and examining the predictable situation-specific contingencies (e.g., she does X when A but Y when B) that constitute peoples' unique behavioral "signatures".

Relevant Publications

Mischel, W. (2004). Toward an integrative science of the person (Prefatory Chapter). Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 1-22.

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, 246-268.


Courses Frequently Taught

Columbia University
Psychology Dept.
401A Schermerhorn
1190 Amsterdam Avenue MC: 5501
New York, NY 10027

Phone: 212-854-3957

Last modified: March 1, 2016