Personal Versus Situation Variables

Personal Versus Situation Variables

Walter Mischel disagreed with the ideology of traditional theories of supporting the notion that the personal characteristics of an individual played a significant role in his/her behavior. Instead, he proposed that situations are of the essence in propagating the behaviors that a person exhibits. Walter Mischel pointed out that behavior was largely a product of the situations that human beings faced. That is the case because in his study Walter established that traits of a person have a correlation value of 30 with behavior. He concluded that such a percentage was small and the only logical explanation for human actions was only envisioned in the situation variables (Mischel, 2013). Over the years, Walter’s view on the personality-situation debate has received much acceptance across the human population due to the emergence of new evidence by other scholars. Regardless of the increased acceptability, much about this issue remains a mystery to many.

Overt Behaviors versus Internal Processes

Concerning the determinants of human behavior, Skinner proposed that overt behavior was of utmost significance when studying human behavior as opposed to internal processes. Skinner relied on the overt behavior to study human behavior because according to him studying what is observable and measurable is of the essence in the validation of the existence of a phenomenon (Allen, 2015). Thus, Skinner discredited the use of internal processes in behavioral explanation because they were immeasurable and unseen. Despite his preference not to use the internal processes, Skinner failed to disregard the vitality of internal processes such as physiological process, but he only discredited them as determinants of human behavior. As such, Skinner relied on overt behavior in his study because it was objective and observable as opposed to the internal processes that he termed as irrelevant to the determination of the human behavior (Allen, 2015).


Allen, B. P. (2015). Personality theories: Development, growth, and diversity. Psychology Press.

Mischel, W. (2013). Personality and assessment. Psychology Press.