Prototype salience and implicit personality theories

David J. Schneider, Bonnie L. Blankmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Based on a model of personality prototypes developed by N. Cantor and W. Mischel (see record 1977-25296-001) it was reasoned that people use beliefs about personality (e.g., extraversion, introversion) to process information about people. Prototypes serve to organize the matrix of perceived trait relationships, to organize implicit personality theories. It was argued in the present study that perceived trait and behavior relationships among prototype-relevant stimuli should be strengthened when the relevant prototype was salient. In Exp I, 45 undergraduates rated the extent to which introverted or extraverted traits and behaviors implied one another under conditions in which the stimulus person was identified as an extravert, an introvert, or was not identified. As expected, perceived extraverted trait relationships were stronger when the extraverted prototype was salient, and introverted trait and behavior relationships were perceived as higher when the introverted prototype was salient. However, neither pattern of results differed strongly from the no-salience control conditions. In Exp II (96 Ss), the salience of mature and immature prototypes was manipulated by having Ss work on unrelated tasks involving these variables before they worked on a behavior implication task. Results strongly support the prototype salience model. It is suggested that implicit personality theories play an active role in information processing. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-722
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1983


  • implicit personality theory, behavioral ratings, college students
  • prototype salience &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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