Incorporating if...then...personality signatures in person perception: beyond the person-situation dichotomy.

Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 05/2005; 88(4):605-18. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.88.4.605
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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