Personality and Racial/Ethnic Relations: A Perspective From Cognitive–Affective Personality System (CAPS) Theory


concerning this article should be addressed to Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, c/o Psychology Department, 3210 Tolman Hall, MC 1650, Berkeley, CA 94720. E-mail:


The five articles in this special section examine personality and racial/ethnic relations from the perspective of Mischel and Shoda's Cognitive–Affective Personality System (CAPS) Theory. In this introductory piece, we first provide a primer on CAPS theory. In particular, we try to highlight the role that context plays in the construction and manifestation of personality as well as the dynamic ways that people interpret and react to input from their environment. We then review research on race-based rejection sensitivity as a programmatic illustration of the role expectancies play in racial/ethnic relations. Finally, we summarize and tie together the articles that comprise this section via a set of emergent themes that are common to the present contributions.