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Title:Priming, Contrast, and Category Accessibility in Impression Formation
Author(s):Marx, Steven Edward
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Both priming and contrast effects are well documented in the person-perception literature. Priming is said to occur when a target stimulus is to some extent judged in a manner consistent with prior stimuli. Contrast is said to occur when a target stimulus is judged with respect to (in contrast to) prior stimuli.
Evidence for priming effects have generally been interpreted as indicating that priming is an encoding phenomenon. Both Higgins, Rholes & Jones, 1978 and Srull & Wyer, 1978 argue that relevant context may lead to a biased encoding of subsequent stimuli. However, an alternative is that priming effects could be more parsimoniously explained as a purely judgmental (artifactual) phenomenon.
In the area of contrast effects, some authors (e.g. Upshaw, 1962) have argued that these effects are judgmental in nature where subjects will try to rate a stimulus in terms of other stimuli which they have judged or expect to judge.
The present study was designed to test in the context of a memory model involving category accessibility the hypothesis that both priming and contrast effects are judgmental phenomena. Believing that they were participating in two separate experiments, subjects were exposed to a list of words some of which were relevant to and some of which were irrelevant to a one-paragraph description of a fictitious person which they subsequently read. Subjects were then asked to judge the described person in various manners and did these judgments in several different orders. Finally, they were asked to recall the words from the original list.
The present study found no evidence for priming or contrast effects. The implication is that these effects may not be as robust as was initially thought or that they may occur only under a certain set of conditions.
However, more relevant words were recalled than irrelevant words. This supplies some evidence for a memory model where more recent stimuli are more accessible and where information is linked in memory by concept.
Issue Date:1980
Description:77 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108598
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-13
Date Deposited:1980

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