On the utility of looking in the “wrong” direction1


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    The author is grateful to Michael A. Ross for his helpful editorial suggestions on an earlier version of this article.

Requests for reprints should be sent to James T. Lamiell, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urhana-Champaign, Ghampaign, Illinois 61820.


In his reply to Lamiell, Foss, and Cavenee (1980), Shweder (1980) fails to address an important question: Did the behavior report task used by Lamiell et al. meet his requirements for a “diffieult memory condition,” or did it not? In light of the nature of the illusory correlation hypothesis and Lamiell et al.'s findings, it is explained that for any of three possible answers to this question (yes, no, or maybe) the integrity of the illusory correlation hypothesis in its present form is compromised. It is also explained that further research on the hypothesis is likely to be pointless, because Lamiell et al.'s findings suggest that it is not salvageable in any form. Finally, it is explained that the incompatibility between lay persons' usage of personality concepts and the study of individual differences does not lead inextricably to the conclusion that the former have no legitimate role to play in a science of personality.