Implicit theories of courage

Christopher R. Rate, Jennifer A. Clarke, Douglas R. Lindsay, Robert J. Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


What is courage? This question garners significant interest and attention but little empirical research. An operational definition of courage is essential to good research, yet no consensus definition has fully emerged. This article systematically investigates people's conceptions of courage and courageous behavior through a series of studies employing well-grounded implicit methodologies. The organizational structure and components of courage are investigated using a response-generating task (Study 1) and alternate methods (Studies 2 and 3), followed by an experimental approach to determine if people actually use their implicit theories in their evaluations of others (Study 4). Collectively, these studies reveal an organizational structure of people's implicit theories of courage. Further, they indicate that people apply their implicit theories accurately in evaluating others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-98
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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