implicit personality theory

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A set of assumptions that a person makes, often unconsciously, about the correlations between personality traits, including such widespread assumptions as that warmth is positively correlated with generosity, so that a person who is warm is perceived as being likely also to be generous, and that coldness is positively correlated with seriousness, so that a person who is cold is perceived as being likely also to be serious. Some implicit personality theories also include correlations between psychological and physiognomic traits, such as the belief that intelligence is positively correlated with forehead height or that meanness is negatively correlated with distance between the eyes. The concept was introduced in 1954 by the US psychologist Jerome S(eymour) Bruner (born 1915) and the Italian-born US psychologist Renato Tagiuri (born 1919), who called it a lay personality theory, and in 1955 by the US psychologist Lee J(oseph) Cronbach (1916–2001), who introduced the term implicit personality theory. See also illusory correlation, trait centrality.

Subjects: Psychology.

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