Cervone, D. (in press). Social-cognitive mechanisms and personality coherence: Self-knowledge, situational beliefs, and cross-situational coherence in perceived self-efficacy. Psychological Science.

This paper presents a social-cognitive analysis of cross-situational coherence in personality functioning. Social-cognitive analyses are contrasted with those of trait approaches in personality psychology. Rather than attributing coherence to high-level constructs that correspond directly to observed patterns of social behavior, social-cognitive theory pursues a "bottom-up" analytic strategy in which coherence derives from interactions among multiple underlying causal mechanisms, no one of which directly corresponds to a broad set of responses. Research investigating social- and self-knowledge underlying cross-situational coherence in a central social-cognitive mechanism, perceived self-efficacy, is presented. Idiographic analyses reveal that individuals' schematic self-knowledge and situational beliefs give rise to high and low patterns in self-efficacy appraisal across diverse, idiosyncratic sets of situations that do not, in general, correspond to traditional high-level trait categories. Bottom-up analyses in personality psychology are related to other disciplines' analyses of organization in complex, adaptive systems.