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Abstract

Following Lamiell's (1981) critique of the individual differences approach to the scientific study of personality, questions have arisen concerning (a) the nature of the empirical research to which the “idiotheric” framework he proposed as an alternative has thus far led, and (b) the wider theoretical implications of that research. The present article seeks to address these questions within the medium of research on the nature of the reasoning process by which lay persons formulate and express subjective personality impressions. It is argued that the findings of this research offer strong empirical support for a conception of the intuitive personologist as a dialectician. Among other things, the discussion of these findings focuses on their implications for a humanistic conception of the relation between cognition and behavior, and thus of personality more broadly defined.