SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

The systematic distortion hypothesis states that under difficult memory conditions judges infer what “must” have happened from their general model of what the world is like and/or find it easier to retrieve conceptually affiliated memory items. The hypothesis further states that lay conceptual schemes “tend to be innacurate with respect to how behaviors covary, confusing ‘what is like what’ with ‘what goes with what’” (Shweder & D'Andrade, 1979), and that interbehavior correlations derived from memory-based ratings cannot be considered valid evidence for the objective existence of proposed personality traits, factors or syndromes. The systematic distortion hypothesis is clarified with reference to the Lamiell, Foss, and Cavenee “critique” (1980). That “critique,” it is argued, is neither a test of the systematic distortion hypothesis nor a critique. What Lamiell, Foss, and Cavenee demonstrate is that the validity of the systematic distortion hypothesis does not depend upon the unrealistic assumption that observers are capable of reporting only what they expect to see.