The relationship between higher order models and everyday conceptions of personality

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Abstract

Two studies are reported. The first one is concerned with an examination of the degree to which higher order models of personality differ from everyday social representations of personality. The second study consists in an analysis of intersubjective variations in the organization of everyday personality theories through an examination of the semantic field in which trait terms are represented. It is argued that hypothetico-deductive models of personality rely primarily on ordinary language descriptions of persons and do not constitute higher order models. Further, it is suggested that the development of such models relies primarily on a linguistic context, rather than extralinguistic considerations to social interaction in which person terms feature centrally. The two studies provide empirical support for both contentions. Finally, a cross-cultural comparison of the semantic representation of trait terms is provided.

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