Is Implicit Personality Theory illusory? Armchair criticism versus replicated empirical research


  • Supported in part by Research Grant No. 410-80-0576X1 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Reprint requests should be sent to Douglas N. Jackson, Department of Psychology, The University of Western Ontario, London, N6A 5C2, Canada.


The Tzeng and Tzeng (1982) criticisms of the assumptions underlying the Jackson, Chan, and Stricker (1979) study of Implicit Personality Theory fail to take account of the relevant empirical data. For example, the key contention of Tzeng and Tzeng–that the measures of judged and empirical trait-co-occurrence used by Jackson et al. were not comparable–is contradicted by replicated findings which establish that the two are substantially and consistently related, results for which Tzeng and Tzeng offer no alternative explanation. In short, Tzeng and Tzeng have not demonstrated that their criticisms have any real substance. Hence, none of the Jackson et al. results and conclusions, including those questioning the conditional probability index as a measure of empirical co-occurrence and those supporting the validity of Implicit Personality Theory, are affected or changed.