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Title:Contextual Effects in Impression Formation: Encoding and Contrast
Author(s):Goldstein, Paul David
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:An experiment was performed to investigate the influence on impression formation of two types of contextual effects: encoding, in which context stimuli provide bases for the interpretation and organization of subsequently presented target information, and contrast, in which context stimuli provide bases of comparison and contrast for judgments of encoded target information. Two hundred seventy subjects were instructed to form an impression of a hypothetical target person described by several ambiguous behavioral descriptions. Immediately prior to this impression task, Ss memorized a list of priming (context) traits, some of which were applicable to encoding of the behavioral descriptions (and which were either positive or negative), and some of which were inapplicable (and either positive or negative). Behavioral descriptions pertained to traits that were either highly interrelated (homogeneous) or relatively unrelated (heterogeneous). Some Ss were told that they would be asked to recall the priming list after completing the impression task (expected recall), while the remaining Ss were not informed in advance of this recall task (unexpected recall). Finally, after reading the stimulus paragraph, Ss provided impression judgments and (after an imposed delay) recalled the behavioral descriptions.
As expected, (a) the magnitude of the encoding effect on both impression judgments and paragraph recall was greater when the target information was homogeneous (and when it could therefore be efficiently encoded in terms of a very small number of traits) than when it was heterogeneous, and (b) the magnitude of the contrast effect was greater when recall of the priming list was expected (in which case deliberate rehearsal of the priming traits caused them to be salient in working memory at the time of judgment) than when it was unexpected. However, contrary to expectations, encoding was greater when priming list recall was expected than when it was unexpected, and contrast was greater when the stimulus paragraph was homogeneous than when it was heterogeneous. Possible explanations for these unexpected findings were discussed.
Issue Date:1982
Description:101 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8218474
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982

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