This article describes the basic principles of belief-importance (belimp) theory and tests them in two empirical studies. Belimp theory hypothesizes that personality traits confer a propensity to perceive convergences and divergences between our belief that we can attain goals and the importance that we place on these goals. Belief and importance are conceptualized as two coordinates, together defining the belimp plane. Four distinct quadrants can be identified within the belimp plane (Hubris, Motivation, Depression and Apathy), broadly corresponding to the personality dimensions of trait emotional intelligence, conscientiousness, neuroticism and introversion. Study 1 (N=365) defines the four quadrants in relation to goals about financial security and shows that they score differently on trait emotional intelligence, mood and somatic complaints. Study 2 (N=230) defines the quadrants in relation to goals about appearance and, separately, in relation to goals about popularity, and replicates the findings of the first study. Strategies and requirements for testing belimp theory are presented, as are a number of theoretical and practical advantages that it can potentially offer.
© 2010 The Author. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology © 2010 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations.