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Implicit Personality Theory: Is It Illusory?

Chan, David W.; Jackson, Douglas N.; Stricker, Lawrence J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Canada Council, Individual Characteristics, Item Analysis, Personality Research Form, Personality Theories, Psychological Studies


Several studies have found a substantial association between subjects' judgments about the co-occurrence of personality items and the items' actual co-occurance, lending support to the validity of implicit personality theory. This work has recently been called into question by an investigation of Mirels that reported a nonsignificant relationship between judged probabilities of coendorsement of items pairs and the pairs' empirical coendorsement probabilities (actually calculated conditional probabilities) derived from selfreport responses. Using Mirels' data as well as our own, we found an appreciable and highly significant association between the judgments and empirical coendorsement, when the latter was measured by correlational-type indexes of conditional probability. This outcome indicates that the divergent results in the Mirels investigation were due to its use of the conditional probability index as a measure of empirical coendorsement and adds to the body of evidence pointing to the validity of implicit personality theory. (18pp.)

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