The situated person: Effects of construct accessibility on situational construals and interpersonal perception

AC Kay, SC Wheeler, DHRV Smeesters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three studies examined the interrelationship between primed constructs, situation construal, and person perception. Previous research on priming and person perception has generally neglected the situational context. We predicted that when rich situational information is included, primed constructs can lead to assimilation effects on situation construals, which can in turn lead to contrast effects in person perceptions. Study 1 demonstrated that when situation information is included in the experimental context, primes lead to contrast in person perceptions. Study 2, employing a subliminal methodology, demonstrated that these effects could not be accounted for via previous explanations of contrast effects, such as correction-based mechanisms, that require overt recognition of the priming stimuli by the participants. Study 3 demonstrated that the contrastive effects of the priming stimuli on person perception obtained in Studies 1 and 2 are in fact due to the intervening assimilative effects of the priming stimuli on situation construal—that is, the primed constructs led to contrast effects on perceptions of the actor via their assimilative effects on perceptions of the situation in which that actor was embedded. Additionally, moderator variables demonstrated that this effect is most pronounced when the target actor’s behavior is described as relatively unambiguous or situation focus is increased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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