Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

If-Then Behavioral Contingencies

  • Ayla X. Rubenstein
  • Heather K. TerrellEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1797-1



If-then behavioral contingencies are a way of understanding and explaining behavior. This framework gives precedence to the situation in which a behavior occurs rather than the personality traits of individuals engaging in the behavior.


Mischel and Shoda (1995) introduced a cognitive-affective personality theory to account for previously unacknowledged differences in behavior based on situational factors. A core component of this theory is the idea of If…Then behavioral contingencies. If…Then contingencies outline a general formula to explain how people’s actions vary based on differing situations. Rather than defining people based on their traits, If…Then contingencies are based on the simple that if x situation occurs, then y behavior is likely to result.


The cognitive-affective model was introduced as an alternative to...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Catherine Cottrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesNew College of FloridaSarasotaUSA