The evaluative face of a descriptive model: Communion and agency in Peabody's tetradic model of trait organization



An important strand of research on cognitive trait organization is connected with Peabody's (1967) tetradic model stressing two non-evaluative dimensions: tight–loose and assertive–unassertive. The relationship of this model with the communion/agency model involving two evaluative dimensions is discussed and empirically investigated. It is shown that the models are orthogonally related suggesting four trait categories: agentic tight–loose, communal tight–loose, agentic assertive–unassertive and communal assertive–unassertive. Implications are discussed regarding the interpretation of stereotype contents, the validity of the tetradic and communion/agency models and the development of a functionalist approach of social perception and judgment. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.