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Assessing the Implicit Personality Through Conditional Reasoning

For many years, the explicit personality-that part of which the person is aware-has dominated the realm of personality assessment. Until now, the implicit personality-the unconscious, inaccessible, hidden reserve of motives and needs explored by Freud, Jung, Rorschach, and others-has been difficult to measure. Yet most psychologists have also concluded that both components of personality govern different behaviors, and their interplay may explain a variety of hitherto unexamined behaviors. In what Drew Westen has called the 'explosion of empirical studies of unconscious cognitive processes,' new, more efficient and psychometrically robust methods to measure the implicit personality have been developed of late, attempting to offer the ease and straightforwardness of the explicit personality's self-report assessment standard. Lawrence James and James LeBreton's Assessing the Implicit Personality Through Conditional Reasoning lays out a novel framework to examine how new measures of the implicit personality interact with more popular explicit personality measures to provide a comprehensive assessment of personality. The authors use conditional reasoning (CR) to indirectly assess various dimensions of the implicit personality: The chosen 'solution' to specially constructed inductive reasoning problems is conditional on the test taker's personality-either prosocial or aggressive, the latter informed by unconscious negative cognitive biases and salient justification mechanisms for socially unacceptable aggression, achievement motivation, or fear of failure. The authors conclude this groundbreaking volume by exploring the other content domains of depression, addiction proneness, and 'toxic leadership' through CR testing.

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