Three studies investigated conditions in which perceivers view dispositions and situations as interactive, rather than independent, causal forces when making judgments about another's personality. Study 1 showed that perceivers associated 5 common trait terms (e.g., friendly and shy) with characteristic if...then... (if situation a, then the person does x, but if situation b, then the person does y) personality signatures. Study 2 demonstrated that perceivers used information about a target's stable if...then... signature to infer the target's motives and traits; dispositional judgments were mediated by inferences about the target's motivations. Study 3 tested whether perceivers draw on if...then... signatures when making judgments about Big Five trait dimensions. Together, the findings indicate that perceivers take account of person-situation interactions (reflected in if...then... signatures) in everyday explanations of social behavior and personality dispositions. Boundary conditions are also discussed.
"Similarly, field research has found that staff ratings of overall aggression do not distinguish between two types of functionally distinct children: those who became more likely over time to experience aversive events (e.g., peer tease) but became less likely to react aggressively when this occurred, versus those who showed the opposite changes in these events and reactions (Wright et al. 2011). Numerous studies demonstrate that observers are sensitive to contextualized behavior patterns (Fournier et al. 2008; Kammrath et al. 2005), and incorporate situational information into their personality judgments (Smith and Collins 2009). However, these sensitivities depend on the conditions under which raters process information. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This research examined how people’s ability to detect behavior change in simulated child targets is affected by their clinical experience and the assessment method they use. When using summary assessment methods that are widely employed in research and clinical practice, both inexperienced and experienced clinical staff detected changes in the overall frequency of targets’ aggressive behavior, but were not uniquely influenced by changes in targets’ reactions to social events. When using contextualized assessment methods that focused on conditional reactions, experienced staff showed greater sensitivity than novices to context-specific changes in targets’ aggressive and prosocial reactions to aversive events. Experienced staff also showed greater sensitivity to context-specific changes in their overall impressions of change, but only for aggression. The findings show how clinically experienced judges become more attuned to if…then… contingencies in children’s social behavior, and how summary assessment methods may hamper the detection of change processes.
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 09/2014; 36(3). DOI:10.1007/s10862-013-9401-2 · 1.55 Impact Factor
"These findings indicate that perceivers can be quite attentive to the situational forces surrounding aggression and, as a result, the negativity of inferences about motives and traits depends heavily on how those situations are interpreted. In addition, MIM directs attention to perceivers' inferences about both motives and traits, suggesting that perceivers integrate various pieces of information in an effort to create a coherent impression (Asch, 1946; Kammrath et al., 2005; Read & Miller, 1993, 2005; Roese & Morris, 1999; Shoda & Mischel, 1993; Trope & Gaunt, 2000). When perceivers learn about the behavior of Milgram's teachers, what situational cues are likely to draw attention? "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The research investigated impressions formed of a "teacher" who obeyed an experimenter by delivering painful electric shocks to an innocent person (S. Milgram, 1963, 1974). Three findings emerged across different methodologies and different levels of experimenter-induced coercion. First, contrary to conventional wisdom, perceivers both recognized and appreciated situational forces, such as the experimenter's orders that prompted the aggression. Second, perceivers' explanations of the teacher's behavior focused on the motive of obedience (i.e., wanting to appease the experimenter) rather than on hurtful (or evil) motivation. Despite this overall pattern, perceptions of hurtful versus helpful motivation varied as a function of information regarding the level of coercion applied by the experimenter. Finally, theoretically important relationships were revealed among perceptions of situations, motives, and traits. In particular, situational cues (such as aspects of the experimenter's behavior) signaled the nature of the teacher's motives, which in turn informed inferences of the teacher's traits. Overall, the findings pose problems for the lay dispositionism perspective but fit well with multiple inference models of dispositional inference.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 08/2008; 95(1):1-17. DOI:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124 · 5.08 Impact Factor
"More recent research suggests that laypeople intuitively calculate the interactive effects of personality and situations when predicting behavior (Kammrath et al., 2005; Malle, 1999). For example, Kammrath et al. (2005) asked participants to predict how Jane, a shy person, would react in situations with friends she knew well or strangers. Participants demonstrated a sensitivity to the situational context, predicting that Jane's shyness would manifest itself more clearly when she was interacting with strangers than when she was interacting with friends. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this article, the authors propose and test an interactionist model of personality functioning. The model maintains that many traits function in a threshold-like manner, such that less situational strength is needed to evoke a trait-relevant response in people who are high on the trait than in those who are low on the trait. Because of these different sensitivities, people who are high on a trait are more reactive to moderate provocation than are those who are low on a trait, but the opposite is true when strong provocation is compared to moderate provocation. Three studies are reported showing how the model can be used to understand the nature of aggression.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 09/2006; 32(8):1100-13. DOI:10.1177/0146167206288488 · 2.52 Impact Factor
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