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


Journal Article

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. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kay, AC; Wheeler, SC; Smeesters, D

Published Date

  • March 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 275 - 291

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0465

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1031

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jesp.2007.05.005

Citation Source

  • Scopus