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.
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