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Encyclopedia of Social Psychology

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Encyclopedia of Social Psychology

Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs

Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Implicit Personality Theory

David Dunning

An implicit personality theory refers to a person's notions about which personality characteristics tend to co-occur in people. Can one assume, for example, that a person with a sense of humor is also intelligent? Is a charming person likely to be honest or dishonest? Is a leader someone likely to be friendly or aggressive? Implicit personality theories guide the inferences that social perceivers make of other people. For example, if a perceiver sees someone act in an energetic style and presumes that energy is linked to intelligence, then the perceiver will likely infer that the other person is intelligent. The notion of implicit personality theories was introduced into modern psychology by Lee Cronbach in the 1950s, with his notion of “the generalized other.” This “other” contained the person's beliefs about the attributes and abilities that the typical person exhibited, along with how those attributes and ...

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