Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 73/74
Allport/personality traits/Lamiell: Allport (1937)(1) argued that person characterization must somehow be possible outside of the framework of common traits. After all, he reasoned, psychologists working in non-research settings, e.g., as counsellors or clinicians, face daily the challenge of characterizing their clients in ways often peculiar to each one of them individually, and hence not necessarily on the basis of considerations about how that client compares with others along some pre-specified dimension(s) presumed applicable to all (‘common traits’). Within the mainstream, Allport’s arguments along this line were widely (and sometimes harshly) dismissed, e.g.
LundbergVsAllport Lundberg 1941(2), p.383.
SarbinVsAllport: Sarbin 1944(3), p. 214. …“ Either they are making statistical predictions in an informal, subjective, and uncontrolled way, or else they are performing purely verbal manipulations which are unverifiable and akin to magic.”
LamiellVsTradition: see >Measurement/traits/Lamiell.
Corr I 79
Allport/Lamiell: Allport’s conjectures (…) might well merit the serious consideration they never received in his lifetime. The findings of several investigations carried out by the present author in collaboration with various colleagues offer substantial empirical support for this view (Lamiell and Durbeck 1987(4); Lamiell, Foss, Larsen and Hempel 1983(5); Lamiell, Foss, Trierweiler and Leffel 1983(6)).


1. Allport, G. W. 1937. Personality: a psychological interpretation. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
2. Lundberg, G. A. 1941. Case-studies vs. statistical methods: an issue based on misunderstanding, Sociometry 4: 379–83
3. Sarbin, T. R. 1944. The logic of prediction in psychology, Psychological Review 51: 210–28
4. Lamiell, J. T. and Durbeck, P. 1987. Whence cognitive prototypes in impression formation? Some empirical evidence for dialectical reasoning as a generative process, Journal of Mind and Behaviour 8: 223–44
5. Lamiell, J. T., Foss, M. A., Larsen, R. J. and Hempel, A. 1983. Studies in intuitive personology from an idiothetic point of view: implications for personality theory, Journal of Personality 51: 438–67
6. Lamiell, J. T., Foss, M. A., Trierweiler, S. J. and Leffel, G. M. 1983. Toward a further understanding of the intuitive personologist: some preliminary evidence for the dialectical quality of subjective personality impressions, Journal of Personality 53: 213–35


James T. Lamiell, “The characterization of persons: some fundamental conceptual issues”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009 The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Lamiell, James T.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-04-22
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