Article

Reducing Context Effects by Adding Context Information: The Direction and Size of Context Effects in Political Judgment

Article

Reducing Context Effects by Adding Context Information: The Direction and Size of Context Effects in Political Judgment

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Abstract

This article investigates how the activation of a specific exemplar influences the direction and the size of context effects on evaluative judgments about other specific exemplars or about a superordinate category. The activation of an untrustworthy politician decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general but increased judgments of the trustworthiness of specific exemplars. The assimilation as well as the contrast effect were attenuated when additional judgment-relevant exemplars were activated. The results suggest that the impact of a specific context information depends on the amount of other judgment-relevant information that can be used in constructing a mental representation of the judgmental target or of a comparison standard. Implications for scandal management are discussed.

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... For example, knowing that a particular politician was involved in a norm violation reduced his or her perceived integrity (Hendry, Jackson, & Mondak, 2009). In addition, increasing the salience of a politician's past violation of law has been found to reduce citizens' trust in politicians in general (e.g., Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Bowler & Karp, 2004), in political institutions, and the political system (Bowler & Karp, 2004). Other findings indirectly speak in favor of this effect. ...
... Third, studies that have focused on citizens' immediate reactions to the wrongdoing of a politician (Halmburger, Rothmund, Schulte, & Baumert, 2012;Hendry et al., 2009;Kepplinger, Geis, & Siebert, 2012) have been limited to specific cases and did not take into account the idea that citizens' reactions might vary by contextual factors such as the type of norm violation (Carlson, Ganiel, & Hyde, 2000;Funk, 1996). Fourth, previous studies have focused exclusively on how such violations affected the public's perceptions of either (a) the politicians in question (e.g., Funk, 1996;Hendry et al., 2009;Mitchell, 2014) or (b) politicians in general and the political system (e.g., Bless et al., 2000;Bowler & Karp, 2004;Halmburger et al., 2012;Maier, 2011). Thus, little is known about the underlying psychological processes that are involved when laypersons draw inferences from a single politician's behavior to all politicians in general or the political system. ...
... In line with theories from personality psychology and political science, trust-related experiences with individuals shape generalized trustworthiness expectations (Mishler & Rose, 2001;Rotter, 1971). As already mentioned, there is empirical evidence suggesting that negative information about a specific politician can affect citizens' perceptions of trustworthiness of politicians in general (Bless et al., 2000;Régner & Le Floch, 2005;Schwarz & Bless, 1992) and the political system (Anderson & Tverdova, 2003;Bowler & Karp, 2004;Halmburger et al., 2012). But how is new information about a single politician's behavior integrated into the perceived trustworthiness of politicians and of the political system? ...
Article
By bringing together a sophisticated conceptualization of political trustworthiness (integrated model of trust) with theorizing from information processing (trait inferences, inclusion-exclusion model), our research aimed at investigating the impact of a politician’s unlawful behavior on political trust. In four experimental studies, we investigated how laypersons draw inferences from media reports about a politician’s law violation to the trustworthiness of (a) that politician, (b) politicians in general, and (c) the political system as a whole. Participants who read a bogus newspaper report about a violation of law (child pornography or financial fraud) ascribed lower integrity, benevolence, and competence to the respective politician compared to those in a control condition (Study 1, 3, & 4). The perceived trustworthiness of politicians in general and the political system was also found to be decreased in one study (Study 2), which did not include items asking for the trustworthiness of the law-violating politician. By contrast, two studies including such items revealed only indirect effects through the perceived trustworthiness of the politician in question (Study 3 & 4). Our results suggest that law violations negatively affect the responsible politicians. In line with the inclusion-exclusion model, the impact from the wrongdoing of one politician to all politicians or the political system seems to be highly influenced by boundary conditions.
... In contrast, if individuals were asked to compare a scandalous politician with a specific other politician (e.g., Bill Clinton), "the primed exemplar cannot be included in the representation formed of the target (after all, Bill Clinton is not Richard Nixon)" (Schwarz & Bless, 2007, p. 124) and a contrast effect emerged. Importantly, depending on its usage the same piece of information (e.g., negative evaluation of one politician) can therefore result in both assimilation and contrast effects (Schwarz & Bless, 1992; see also Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000). ...
... We used the following three items (1 = disagree, 5 = agree) based on Bless et al. (2000) and Maier (2011), e.g., "I can trust the Austrian politicians to make the right decisions for the people", "The politicians in Austria keep their promises to the citizens (α = .82, M = 2.34, SD = 0.71). ...
... Our theorizing in the present study was based on the inclusion/exclusion model (Bless & Schwarz, 2010;Schwarz & Bless, 1992) and the feelings-as-information model (Schwarz, 2012). The findings nicely blend in with the models' assumptions and with previous results (Bless et al., 2000;Dunn & Schweitzer, 2005;Puente-Diaz, 2015;Schwarz & Bless, 1992) showing that an ex-politician's hypocrisy negatively affected participants' attitudes toward him and that individuals obviously tended to perceive the scandalous ex-politician as a typical exemplar of the Green Party. This, in turn, resulted in more negative party attitudes and decreased individuals' voting intentions. ...
Article
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Political hypocrisy – a frequent feature of contemporary politics – oftentimes occurs when politicians resign from office and then engage in behavior that is in fundamental opposition to the standpoints they originally campaigned for as incumbents. Previous research has neglected to examine negative spillover effects of news about ex-politicians’ hypocritical behavior. Drawing from the inclusion/exclusion model and the feelings-as-information model, we conducted two experiments in two different countries and used different stimuli to increase external validity. Results suggest a dual process account of scandal spillover effects (an attitudinal and emotional mechanism) revealing that hypocrisy negatively affected both attitudes and emotions toward an ex-politician. Mediation analysis further showed that evaluations in turn negatively affected attitudes and voting intentions for the party the hypocritical politician used to belong to (attitudinal spillover process). No effects on general political trust emerged. In contrast, negative emotions had no effect on party attitudes and voting intentions but decreased political trust toward politicians in general (emotional spillover process). In line with the inclusion/exclusion model, the results help to explain inconsistent findings in previous studies that did not account for the suggested dual process account of spillover effects and underline the eroding effects of hypocrisy.
... However, Bless and colleagues Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Schwarz & Bless, 1992) showed that the impact of scandals on young adults' judgments is not as simple as it would appear at first glance. Indeed, they found that the way a German political scandal affected political judgment depended on the target being judged. ...
... More precisely, the activation of a politician involved in a scandal (i.e. an untrustworthy politician) decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general (the category) but increased judgments of trustworthiness of other specific politicians not involved in the scandal (specific exemplars of the category). Since a political scandal can affect negatively (assimilation effect) as well as positively (contrast effect) the political judgment, Bless et al. (2000) concluded that a political culture of mistrust was not a systematic consequence of scandals. ...
... The core idea is that the impact of any piece of information is likely to decrease as the overall amount of other accessible information increases. Because experts in a domain possess a larger amount of chronically accessible knowledge relative to novices (Alba & Hutchinson, 1987;Judd & Krosnick, 1989;Sidanius, 1988), Bless and colleagues (Bless et al., 2000;Bless, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2003) reasoned that the individuals' level of expertise could moderate context effects. More precisely, they emphasized that more knowledge could lead to an increase as well as a decrease in the size of these context effects, depending on whether knowledge pertained to the context or to the target being judged. ...
Article
This short note investigated how expertise in a political scandal moderates whether the activation of this scandal produces assimilation in the evaluation of politicians in general and contrast in the evaluation of specific politicians. It was hypothesized that participants with a rich knowledge about the scandal would display the assimilation and contrast effects whereas those with a poorer knowledge would not. Results tended to support this prediction, suggesting that the impact on judgment of a specific context depends on the amount of knowledge participants possess about this context.
... A third research gap exists regarding the potential spillover effects of scandals on political trust more generally (i.e., trust toward other politicians). Although scholars have started to examine if and under which conditions single-politician scandals generate negative spillover effects on political trust, most of this research stems from lab experiments (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Maier, 2011;Puente-Diaz, 2015;Schwarz & Bless, 1992;von Sikorski & Herbst, 2019). These studies have not systematically accounted for specific prior attitudes or other important variables such as scandal knowledge (Régner & Le Floch, 2005) in connection with real scandal cases (but see Lee, 2018 for a cross-sectional survey approach). ...
... Previous research on political scandals shows that the negative impact of scandals can go beyond individual candidates directly implicated: that is, the negative impact of a scandal on an individual candidate can spill over or result in an assimilation effect (Schwarz & Bless, 1992) and affect individuals' perceptions of the political elite more generally (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Puente-Diaz, 2015;Régner & Le Floch, 2005;von Sikorski & Herbst, 2019). It has been argued that scandal-spillover effects occur when accessible and negative information regarding a specific category (e.g., scandalous politician) is automatically perceived to be applicable to the category in general, for example, politicians XYZ (Roehm & Tybout, 2006). ...
Article
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Political scandals are highly relevant for political decision-making and democratic processes more generally. While most prior research employed experimental and cross-sectional survey studies, we tested the effects of a political scandal in the context of the 2017 Austrian Parliamentary Elections using panel data (N = 559, both waves). Importantly, we used a unique data set collected before and just after a major scandal broke in the final election phase. Drawing on a motivated reasoning perspective, attribution theory, and the inclusion/ exclusion model, our results revealed a scandal-eroding effect particularly damaging a candidate's own base of supporters and leaving followers in disappointment. The findings also showed a negative scandal-spillover effect for candidate supporters high in scandal knowledge decreasing political trust toward other politicians. Importantly, the results revealed that negative candidate evaluations are not a necessary precondition for negative spillover effects on political trust more generally.
... Unfortunately, measuring preferences is difficult because even seemingly trivial differences in context can dramatically alter reported preferences (e.g., Slovic, Fischhoff, and Lichtenstein 1977). These " context effects " are so pervasive that researchers in decision sciences, economics, marketing, and psychology have called for better preference elicitation methods (Bettman, Luce, and Payne 1998; Bless et al. 2000; Gregory, Lichtenstein, and Slovic 1993; Hammond, Keeney, and Raiffa 1999; Payne, Bettman, and Schkade 1999; Plott 1996). Heeding recent calls for prescriptive work targeting the improvement of managerial decision making (Smith and von Winterfeldt 2004), this paper introduces a method for reducing the effect of context on observed preferences. ...
... Although some scholars define context narrowly as the set of alternatives under consideration, we use the term to represent any irrelevant information that is made temporarily available by the choice setting (Bless et al. 2000; Higgins 1996), and, therefore, is immaterial for the experienced utility resulting from a choice. It is important to distinguish between the environment in which a decision is made (e.g., the temperature outside) and the irrelevant choice context. ...
Article
This paper introduces a technique for improving preference assessment by reducing the influence of context on preferential choices. We propose that a decision maker who is exposed to relevant attribute levels will form spontaneous valuations, which will then insulate the decision maker from the effects of context during subsequent preference assessment. Results from three studies supported this hypothesis. Pre-exposure to product attribute levels undermined the impact of attribute priming, decision framing, and asymmetric dominance on preferential choices. A fourth study demonstrated that similar results can be obtained by allowing decision makers to pregenerate lists of attribute levels on their own.
... Contrast effects refer to situations in which one's judgment of a target stimulus shifts away from the context. For instance, one might judge a target individual to be more (contrast) or less (assimilation) trustworthy after exposure to another individual who is very untrustworthy (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Schwarz & Bless, 1992). ...
Article
The present research explores a contextual perspective on persuasion in multiple message situations. It is proposed that when people receive persuasive messages, the effects of those messages are influenced by other messages to which people recently have been exposed. In two experiments, participants received a target persuasive message from a moderately credible source. Immediately before this message, participants received another message, on a different topic, from a source with high or low credibility. In Experiment 1, participants' attitudes toward the target issue were more favorable after they had first been exposed to a different message from a low rather than high credibility source (contrast). In Experiment 2, this effect only emerged when a priming manipulation gave participants a dissimilarity mindset. When participants were primed with a similarity mindset, their attitudes toward the target issue were more favorable following a different message from a high rather than low credibility source (assimilation).
... Building on this study, we tested the implications of our set-size assumption by varying the number of accessible exemplars (see Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000). We asked German participants to evaluate either the trustworthiness of "German politicians in general" (superordinate category) or the trustworthiness of specific well-known politicians (lateral categories). ...
Article
This chapter reviews determinants of the size of assimilation and contrast effects in social judgment.
... Psychologists have considered public reactions to scandal and moral transgression in terms of 'motivated reasoning' (Fischle, 2002), the desire to preserve or protect existing beliefs and prior affect () and various other cognitive and emotional mechanisms that facilitate and influence social perception and social categorization (Schwarz and Bless, 1992; Bless et al., 2000). Others have focused on causal attribution and political accountability (Eagly and Chaiken, 1976), third-person judgments and mass-media issue framing (Joslyn, 2003) or predictors of evaluative responses to allegations of political misconduct (Gonzales et al., 1995). ...
Article
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Using a discursive and ethnomethodological analytic framework, this article explores the social construction of moral transgression and moral meanings in the context of coming to terms with the recent communist past in Eastern Europe. This article illustrates some significant aspects of everyday uses of morality and the socio-communicative organization of public judgements on moral transgression. The article considers the range of public reactions and commentaries to a public confession of having been an informer for the former Romanian secret police. Moral reasoning around transgression takes several forms: a) invoking everyday psychological categories and morally implicative descriptions associated with identities of persons and actions; b) drawing upon culturally available metaphors and images with roots in Judaeo-Christian ethics and morality; c) using the wider political context of coming to terms with the past as foundation and criterion for moral judgement. This article argues that rather than attempting to analyse moral (public) judgement in abstract, one must focus on the everyday constructions and uses of morality found in social interaction and social responses to moral transgression.
... In addition, the impact of including a given piece of information in the representation formed of a target, or of a standard, decreases with the amount of other information that enters the respective representation (for a more extended discussion of this "set-size" hypothesis, see Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Schwarz & Bless, 1992a). 5 To the extent that highly motivated individuals retrieve more information in constructing their mental representations of the target and of a standard of comparison, this dilution of the representation may further attenuate the otherwise observed assimilation and contrast effects. ...
Article
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We report two studies investigating the impact of how a stereotype-inconsistent exemplar is categorized. In both studies, participants were presented with a description about a specific target and worked on different categorization tasks. Categorization tasks eliciting an inclusion of the target into the group category resulted in less stereotypic judgments about the group and in more stereotypic judgments about the target compared to categorization tasks eliciting exclusion of the target from the category. The results suggest that under exclusion conditions, a stereotype-inconsistent exemplar can increase stereotypic judgments about the group (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 shows that these categorization effects are attenuated if participants' processing motivation is increased at the encoding stage. The importance of a range of psychological variables that can influence the categorization, and thus the impact, of atypical exemplars is discussed.
... On another page, two similar items, though not identical, were placed following an item priming youth delinquency (q71 -"Youth delinquency could be reduced if parents were stricter"). In this way, two opposite contexts were primed before similar questions were asked so any consistent difference in the consecutive answers could be regarded as context effect (Bless, Igou, Schwartz, & Waenke, 2000;Tourangeau & Rasinski, 1988). ...
Article
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This study aims to identify the extent to which individualist or collectivist orientations moderate peoples’ responses when completing Likert-type questionnaires. Answers to multiple-choice questionnaires are vulnerable to a range of biases. These biases may relate, for example, to personal attributes as well as people’s cultural attributes e.g. Collectivism or Individualism. The findings of this study suggest that Collectivism and Individualism directly affect the content of the answers where individualists more than collectivists are affected by the questionnaire’s context and the tendency to exhibit higher level of self deception enhancement. Indirectly, however, via the effects of questionnaire’s context and social desirability, individualists tend to use more extreme responses unlike collectivists who tend to use more neutral responses. It is suggested that researchers consider the impact of the respondents’ cultural attributes when designing and analyzing Likert-type questionnaires within a multicultural context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
... subordinate context information is included in the representation of superordinate targets, resulting in assimilation effects. We already discussed several examples, like the influence of a scandal-ridden politician on judgments of politicians in general (Schwarz & Bless, 1992b; Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000), the influence of highly respected politicians on their party ( Stapel & Schwarz, 1998), and the influence of " typical " TV shows on evaluations of their genre (). The underlying logic is at the heart of attempts to change stereotypes (i.e., representations of high-level categories) by bringing atypical exemplars to mind (e.g., Bless et al., 2001; Bodenhausen, Schwarz, Bless, & Wänke, 1995; Kunda & Oleson, 1995 Weber & Crocker, 1983). ...
Article
The inclusion/exclusion model provides an integrative framework for conceptualizing the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects in evaluative judgment. The model assumes that feature-based evaluative judgments require a mental representation of the object of judgment (target) and of a standard to which the target is compared. Both representations are context sensitive and based on the information that is most accessible at the time. The way in which accessible information influences the judgment depends on how it is used. Information that is used in forming a representation of the target results in assimilation effects; information that is used in forming a representation of the standard results in contrast effects. How information is used depends on (i) individuals' beliefs about whether the information was brought to mind by some irrelevant influence, (ii) the information's perceived representativeness for the target, and (iii) conversational norms that influence the perceived appropriateness of information use. We summarize the core assumptions of the inclusion/exclusion model, review empirical evidence bearing on it, and highlight its integrative nature.
... Extreme exemplars, for example, are more likely to be perceived as atypical and trigger contrast (rather than assimilation) in the subsequent judgment (see Schwarz and Bless 1992). In one example, individual politicians were judged as more trustworthy after participants were exposed to a scandal ridden politician (extremely negative exemplar) compared to participants who were primed with a mix of moderately trustworthy and untrustworthy politicians (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, and Wänke 2000). The use of an extreme negative standard or exemplar resulted in people judging politicians more favorably than they normally would, supporting a contrast effect. ...
Article
Charities that recruit famous humanitarians, or obtain celebrity endorsements, may promote products associated with these altruistic superstars in an effort to increase donations. Previous research supports that “superstar” role models can promote desirable behavior. Charitable organizations may assume if people handle a product associated with a famous humanitarian, they will be inspired and more motivated to donate as a result. An opposite possibility is that physically handling reminders of an extreme altruist may result in contrast effects. Such positive exemplars may result in more negative perceptions of one’s own charitable behavior, and decrease the perceived efficacy of one’s own contributions. In two studies, participants did or did not touch items said to have belonged to a very altruistic person (Experiment 1) or to Mother Teresa (Experiment 2). Compared to participants in non-touch and other control conditions, those who physically touched items said to belong to an altruist subsequently donated fewer raffle tickets to charity. The results are related to theories of perceived efficacy, metacognitive processes, and the counterproductive influence of extremely positive role models.
... An extensive literature has highlighted the importance of contrast effects during social decision-making and person perception. For instance, people recommend lighter sentences for crimes after first learning about more egregious crimes (Pepitone & DiNubile, 1976), and individual politicians are judged as more trustworthy following exposure to untrustworthy politicians (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000). Research on persuasion has further illustrated that contrast effects play a role in perceptions of others' expertise and perceived argument strength, and can ultimately impact agreement with a persuasive message (e.g., Bohner, Ruder, & Erb, 2002;Tormala & Clarkson, 2007;Tormala & Petty, 2007). ...
Article
Decisions about who to date are increasingly being made while viewing a large pool of dating prospects simultaneously or sequentially (e.g., online dating). The present research explores how the order in which dating prospects are evaluated affects the role in dating decisions of a variable crucial to relationship success – partner responsiveness. In Study 1, participants viewed dating profiles varying in physical attractiveness and responsiveness. Some participants viewed responsive profiles first whereas others viewed unresponsive profiles first. Results revealed that responsive targets were rated more favorably following exposure to unresponsive targets, regardless of level of attractiveness. Study 2 specifically targeted how contrast effects affect romantic evaluations of a physically unattractive, yet responsive, target. Results again revealed that unattractive, responsive targets were viewed more favorably after exposure to unresponsive dating prospects, regardless of these unresponsive prospects' physical attractiveness. These results highlight the importance of the context in which dating decisions are made.
... essere un rappresentante di una forza politica che sostiene apertamente la scuola pubblica e iscrivere i propri figli in un istituto privato, ad esempio, è un comportamento che, benché del tutto lecito, potrebbe essere considerato scandaloso dagli elettori in quanto ipocrita. un paio di studi sperimentali hanno verificato se un politico coinvolto in uno scandalo fosse maggiormente punito in uno scenario di «scandalo con ipocrisia» rispetto ad uno senza ipocrisia (Bhatti et al., 2013;Mcdermott et al., 2015). I risultati di queste ricerche nel complesso suggeriscono che la percezione d'ipocrisia effettivamente diventa una aggravante, dato che rende lo scandalo una trasgressione ad almeno due fondamenti morali: quello della lealtà oltre a quello specifico al tipo di comportamento messo in atto. ...
Article
The aim of the present paper was to review the psycho-political literature about consequences of political scandals on public opinion. First of all we tried to define cognitive, affective and behavioral consequences of political scandals on constituency, both in the short and the long term. Second, we discussed which factors may moderate this impact. Finally, we showed the image repair strategies available to politicians accused, and their relative effectiveness. Ulterior avenue for research are discussed.
... If this is indeed the case, then activating alternative standards may reduce the magnitude of the priming effect. It has been demonstrated that the extent to which any individual standard influences social judgment depends on the number of alternative standards that are accessible (Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000). Thus, if alternative standards are activated, they may also be used for person judgment so that the influence of the spontaneously activated concept-consistent standard may diminish. ...
Article
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The authors examine how judgmental priming effects are shaped by comparisons. Specifically, they suggest that concept priming involves spontaneous activation of concept-consistent standards, which are then spontaneously compared to the judgmental target. In 6 studies, they used a variety of priming methods (contextual cue, subliminal priming, indirect priming) to test these notions of spontaneous standard activation and spontaneous comparison. Study 1 demonstrates that priming a trait concept activates concept-consistent standards. Study 2 suggests that these activated standards contribute to priming effects. If alternative standards that are not particularly consistent with the primed concept are activated, priming effects diminish. Studies 3-6 show that the magnitude and direction of priming effects depend on the intensity and the type of the engaged comparison. Specifically, Study 3 demonstrates that the magnitude of a priming effect depends on the intensity of comparative processing. Studies 4 through 6 show that the direction of a priming effect (assimilation vs. contrast) depends on whether judges engage in a similarity or dissimilarity testing comparison mechanism--a factor which has been found to shape comparison consequences in other domains. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
... International Journal of Communication 12 (2018) researchers from different disciplines, including communication research (e.g., Kiousis, 2003), political science (e.g., Basinger, 2012), psychology (e.g., Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000), sociology (e.g., Paxton, 1999), and other crosscutting fields (e.g., political psychology/political economy) have investigated the aftermath of political scandals through different lenses and with the help of various methodological approaches. Despite vast scholarship, the literature is lacking a systematic analysis on the effects of political scandals that provides a detailed understanding as well as overall findings and research trends. ...
Article
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This article represents the first attempt to examine the effects of political scandals via meta-analysis. Seventy-eight studies, collectively including more than 54,000 participants, were identified and examined. A quantitative analysis revealed that the number of studies has steadily increased. Research predominantly stems from North America and Europe, and more than two-thirds of studies are based on student samples. Publication outlets are mostly political science and psychology journals, whereas communication journals play only a minor role. A qualitative analysis shows that two central outcome variables are frequently studied (evaluation of politicians/electoral consequences). Overall, studies generally reveal negative evaluative effects for politicians. However, five central moderators (candidate characteristics, behaviors, prior attitudes, context, and scandal type) significantly influence scandal effects. It is also apparent that research has largely neglected to precisely conceptualize the major independent variable in scandal-effects studies: news coverage and its intensity. Central research gaps are identified, and avenues for future research are discussed.
... The present studies that manipulated relationship theory situationally do not negate the results of the earlier article examining relationship theory as an individual difference. Many psychological constructs show stability over time and yet respond dramatically to situational primes and variations (for example, political and social attitudes [Bless, Igou, Schwartz, & Waenke, 2000;Schuman, Kalton, & Ludwig, 1983], judgments of life satisfaction [Diener, 1996], independent versus interde-pendent selves [Trafimow, Triandis, & Goto, 1991], and implicit theories of personality ). The present research complements the earlier work of Franiuk and colleagues (2002) by showing that relationship theories are important as a situationally manipulated construct as well as a stable individual difference. ...
Article
Two studies demonstrated the causal role of relationship theories in influencing relationship satisfaction and the processes affecting satisfaction. In both studies, participants were induced to hold either the soulmate or work-it-out theory. Feelings that one's partner was ideal (or not) were associated with relationship satisfaction more strongly for people induced to hold the soulmate theory than the work-it-out theory (Study 1). In Study 2, participants' beliefs about their relationships were threatened, and strategies for responding to this threat were assessed. Inducing people to hold the soulmate theory resulted in more relationship-enhancing cognitions if participants believed they were with the right person but more relationship-detracting cognitions if participants did not believe they were with the right person. These polarizing tendencies were enhanced under threat. In contrast, inducing people to hold a work-it-out theory produced almost no biased processing, leading people to process information similarly, regardless of their feelings about their partner.
... On the other hand, including positive (negative) information in the representation of the standard against which the attitude object is evaluated, results in contrast effects. The size of these contrast effects is again a function of the amount and evaluative consistency of other information used in forming a standard, paralleling the discussion of the size of assimilation effects (for empirical examples see Bless, Igou, Schwarz, & Wänke, 2000;Bless et al., 2003). ...
Article
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Most theories treat attitudes as enduring evaluative tendencies; the dispositional focus enjoys intuitive appeal because it is compatible with observers’ preference for dispositional explanations (aka fundamental attribution error). From the actor’s perspective, evaluation stands in the service of action. Any adaptive system of evaluation needs to be highly sensitive to the specifics of the present, turning deplorable “context dependency” into laudable “context sensitivity.” Attitude construal theories conceptualize the context sensitivity of evaluative judgment and provide a parsimonious account of core findings of the attitude literature without assuming enduring dispositions; their assumptions are compatible with theories of situated cognition.
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Purpose – The police force in the USA is a unique organizational type that combines structural traits of military and professional bureaucracy. The specifics of police work require high levels of trust between employees on all hierarchical levels. This paper aims to construct a viable measurement tool that will help law enforcement administration diagnose and change the state of trust in their agency. Design/methodology/approach – Exploratory factor analysis along with multiple regressions and reliability calculations are used in order to understand the elements comprising the structure of organizational trust in a police agency. The data were collected from a large law enforcement agency in the Midwest of the United States of America. Findings – The organizational trust questionnaire (OTQ) is comprised of six dimensions: individual propensity to trust others; individual propensity to distrust others; perceptions of co-workers' character and behavior; friendships outside of the organization; perceptions of superior's behavior; and procedural justice. The reliability scores for the six dimensions range from a=0.691 to a=0.957; the overall instrument reliability score is a=0.907. Differences in trusting behaviors between sworn and civilian employees are examined. Research limitations/implications – The current study is limited to the analysis of one organization. Although existing structural and cultural similarities across comparable police agencies make it possible to suggest that the instrument will be equally applicable in other law enforcement organizations, further data collection across additional agencies is necessary to extend the findings to a fully inferential level. Practical implications – The OTQ is both an assessment and a diagnostic tool that can be used by practitioners to get a quick snapshot of the trust level in their agency at a given time and gain a better understanding of how particular dimensions contribute to the overall level of trust. Originality/value – Despite the existing interest in organizational trust across multiple academic fields, trust within law enforcement has not been deliberately studied. The paper opens a new venue for understanding how the specifics of police work affect the formation of trust on all hierarchical levels and toward the organization itself.
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Developments in social judgment research during the last two decades have broadened the explanatory power of the information processing perspective by paying attention to the social context of human judgment, the importance of ‘warm' cognition, and the role of nonconscious processes. The application of social cognition theorizing to the formation of attitude judgments provided new insights into classic issues of attitude research, suggesting that attitudes may be fruitfully conceptualized as temporary constructions. Implications of these developments, open issues, and potentially fruitful avenues for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/34566/1/998_ftp.pdf
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The major purpose of this paper is to propose a comprehensive model describing the effects of response sets within the theory framework of the stages of responding to questionnaires, and taking into account the effects of collectivist and individualist attributes within cross-cultural contexts. The introduction of this model aims to provide a construct that may help minimize biases in questionnaire-based research as well as providing new directions for theoretical and empirical research in the field of response sets.
Chapter
Marketing ist ein Gebiet wirtschaftlichen Handelns, das besonders häufig auf psychologisches Wissen zurückgreift. Das gilt für alle seine Teilfacetten. Im Rahmen der Produktpolitik muss z. B. entschieden werden, welche Produkte angeboten werden, wie sie aussehen und wie sie in den Kontext anderer angebotener Produkte passen. Preise und Konditionen werden von Konsumenten meist nicht auf der Grundlage exakter Berechnungen, sondern anhand mentaler Faustregeln bewertet. Diese psychologischen Regeln sind bekannt und können vom Marketing antizipiert werden. Über die Vertriebspolitik reguliert das Marketing nicht nur die Verfügbarkeit der Produkte, sondern auch deren Image, ihre Präsentation gegenüber dem Kunden und damit auch deren Kaufwahrscheinlichkeit. Die bevorzugten Vertriebswege ändern sich über die Zeit, wie der Handel über das Internet zeigt. Die Kommunikationspolitik des Marketings besteht nicht nur in Werbung, sondern auch in Pressearbeit (PR), Customer Relationship Management oder der direkten Interaktion von Verkäufer und Kunde.
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From the Introduction: A growing body of literature suggests that attitudes may be much less enduring and stable than has traditionally been assumed. ... self-reports of attitudes are highly context dependent and can be profoundly influenced by minor changes in question wording, question format, or question order. For some researchers, this malleability simply reflects measurement error ... For other researchers, the same findings indicate that all we assess in attitude measurement are evaluative judgments that respondents construct ... based on whatever information happens to be accessible (e.g. Schwarz & Strack, 1991). From this perspective, the traditional attitude concept may not be particularly useful and we may learn more about human cognition and behavior from a detailed analysis of the underlying judgmental processes. Other researchers have taken intermediate positions ... For example, Lord & Lepper (in press) and Tourangeau and his colleagues (e.g. Tourangeau, 1992) equate attitudes with relatively stable memory structures, but assume that individuals sample from these structures when they answer attitude questions. Hence, a stable attitude can result in variable attitude reports, depending on which aspect of the knowledge structure (attitude) is accessed. Others (e.g., Wilson, 1998) suggested that individuals may hold multiple attitudes about an object, accessing different ones at different points in time. As we illustrate below, it is surprisingly difficult to design conclusive empirical tests to evaluate the relative merit of these proposals ... Yet, a scientific concept like “attitude” is to be evaluated on the basis of its explanatory power – and without taking judgmental processes into account, there is little that the attitude concept explains. In fact, the contemporary definition of attitudes as “likes and dislikes” (Bem, 1970, p. 14) equates attitudes with evaluative judgments. Hence, the first section of this chapter highlights judgmental processes and the second section applies these process assumptions to some findings that are typically considered evidence for the enduring nature of attitudes. In response to the malleability of attitude reports, social psychologists have repeatedly tried to replace or supplement verbal self-report measures with other, presumably more direct, ways to assess individuals’ evaluative responses to attitude objects. These attempts range from the “bogus pipeline” (Jones & Sigall, 1971) of the 1970s to the recent development of sophisticated “implicit” measures of attitudes (e.g. Dovidio & Fazio, 1992). Recent findings suggest that such measures may be just as context dependent as verbal reports, although the relevant contextual variables may differ. The third section addresses these developments, which are discussed in more detail by Banaji and colleagues (Chapter 7, this volume) and Bassili (Chapter 4, this volume). Much as the enduring nature of attitudes has been called into question, another body of research suggested that attitudes may not be closely related to behavior either (see Wicker, 1969, for an influential early review). Instead, we may expect a close relationship between attitudes and behavior only under some specific, and relatively narrow, conditions (see Chapter 19, this volume). These conditions can be fruitfully conceptualized within a judgment perspective, as we review in the final section.
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Flow is a psychological state of high but subjectively effortless attention that typically occurs during active performance of challenging tasks and is accompanied by a sense of automaticity, high control, low self-awareness, and enjoyment. Flow proneness is associated with traits and behaviors related to low neuroticism such as emotional stability, conscientiousness, active coping, self-esteem and life satisfaction. Little is known about the genetic architecture of flow proneness, behavioral inhibition and locus of control - traits also associated with neuroticism - and their interrelation. Here, we hypothesized that individuals low in behavioral inhibition and with an internal locus of control would be more likely to experience flow and explored the genetic and environmental architecture of the relationship between the three variables. Behavioral inhibition and locus of control was measured in a large population sample of 3,375 full twin pairs and 4,527 single twins, about 26% of whom also scored the flow proneness questionnaire. Findings revealed significant but relatively low correlations between the three traits and moderate heritability estimates of .41, .45, and .30 for flow proneness, behavioral inhibition, and locus of control, respectively, with some indication of non-additive genetic influences. For behavioral inhibition we found significant sex differences in heritability, with females showing a higher estimate including significant non-additive genetic influences, while in males the entire heritability was due to additive genetic variance. We also found a mainly genetically mediated relationship between the three traits, suggesting that individuals who are genetically predisposed to experience flow, show less behavioral inhibition (less anxious) and feel that they are in control of their own destiny (internal locus of control). We discuss that some of the genes underlying this relationship may include those influencing the function of dopaminergic neural systems.
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Deciding how to label an object depends both on beliefs about the culturally appropriate name and on memory. A label should be consistent with a language community's norms, but those norms can be used only if they can be retrieved. Two experiments are reported in which we tested the hypothesis that immediate prior exposure to familiar objects and their names affects how an ambiguous target object is named. Exposure to a typical instance of one name category was pitted against exposure to one or two instances from a contrasting category. When the contrast set consisted of a neighbor of the target, naming was usually consistent with the contrast category. This effect was reduced when a typical instance of the contrast category was also exposed. In Experiment 2, the exposure set was varied to include conditions in which either the neighbor or a prototypical instance was paired with an instance dissimilar to the target. The results suggest that all recently exposed objects affect name choice in proportion to their similarity to the target.
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Many studies have highlighted the role of gender stereotypes in impressions of politicians. In general, a politician’s image benefits from behaving consistently within gender stereotypes. The present study tested whether this also applied to different image restoration tactics employed by male versus female politicians after a scandal. We assessed participants’ evaluation of a fictitious male or female politician soon after a scandal and then after his or her defence. We used a 3 × 2 experimental design to compare the effectiveness of three defensive tactics involving different degrees of assertiveness vs. submissiveness as a function of a politician’s gender. All tactics were overall effective in improving the damaged reputation of the fictitious politician but, as expected, using the excuse of mitigating circumstances (submissive) was more beneficial to female politicians while diffusing responsibility by accusing another person (assertive) was more beneficial to male politicians, both in terms of global attitude and stereotypical evaluations (communality and agency, respectively). The tactic of mortification and requests for forgiveness did not have different effects by gender. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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The current study investigated older adults' level of engagement with a video game training program. Engagement was measured using the concept of Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Forty-five older adults were randomized to receive practice with an action game (Medal of Honor), a puzzle-like game (Tetris), or a gold-standard Useful Field of View (UFOV) training program. Both Medal of Honor and Tetris participants reported significantly higher Flow ratings at the conclusion, relative to the onset of training. Participants are more engaged in games that can be adjusted to their skill levels and that provide incremental levels of difficulty. This finding was consistent with the Flow theory (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975).
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The inclusion/exclusion model provides an integrative framework for conceptualizing the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects in evaluative judgment. The model assumes that feature-based evaluative judgments require a mental representation of the object of judgment (target) and of a standard to which the target is compared. Both representations are context sensitive and based on the information that is most accessible at the time. The way in which accessible information influences the judgment depends on how it is used. Information that is used in forming a representation of the target results in assimilation effects; information that is used in forming a representation of the standard results in contrast effects. How information is used depends on (i) individuals' beliefs about whether the information was brought to mind by some irrelevant influence, (ii) the information's perceived representativeness for the target, and (iii) conversational norms that influence the perceived appropriateness of information use. We summarize the core assumptions of the inclusion/exclusion model, review empirical evidence bearing on it, and highlight its integrative nature.
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Zusammenfassung: Basierend auf dem Inklusions-Exklusionsmodell (Schwarz & Bless, 1992) wurde in einem Experiment der Einfluss einer beruflich erfolgreichen - und damit stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau - auf die stereotype Beurteilung von Frauen im Allgemeinen untersucht. Das Beispiel einer stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau reduzierte nur dann die stereotyp weibliche Beurteilung von Frauen, wenn zusatzliche Randbedingungen die Inklusion dieser “Abweichlerin” in die mentale Reprasentation der Kategorie der Frauen nahe legten. Legten die Randbedingungen dagegen eher eine Exklusion aus der mentalen Reprasentation der Kategorie der Frauen nahe, hatte die Darstellung der Abweichlerin keine Reduktion des Frauenstereotyps zur Folge. In einer dritten Versuchsbedingung wurden zunachst die Randbedingungen fur eine Inklusion realisiert jedoch gleichzeitig die Verfugbarkeit der Subkategorie der “Karrierefrau” experimentell erhoht. Durch die Aktivierung der alternativen Subkategorie wurde eine Inklusion der Abweichlerin unter...
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Women politicians are a rare breed in politics, especially at the national level. Consider the makeup of elected representatives in almost any western-style democracy, with the exception of Scandinavian countries, and one discovers the same glaring absence of women. Thirty-six percent of elected representatives in the lower houses of parliament in the Netherlands and Iceland are women (Interparliamentary Union, 2001). But in the United States, a country seen as at the forefront of the modern women’s movement, women represent a mere 13.5% of all Congressional districts and constitute 13% of all senators (Center for American Woman and Politics, 2001). In the United Kingdom, the 1997 election of Tony Blair resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of women parliamentarians. Nonetheless, they remain at 18% in the House of Commons. Numbers are even lower in Italy and France where women make up 11.1% and 10.9% respectively of all national elected representatives (Interparliamentary Union, 2001).
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Citizens in Western democracies often have negative attitudes toward political bodies, yet consistently re-elect their own representatives to these same political bodies. They hate Congress, but love their own congressperson. In contrast to resource-based explanations, we propose that this Paradox of Congressional Support is partly due to the wide availability of negative information about politicians in open societies combined with basic processes of information processing. Five studies found that unrelated negative political information decreases attitudes toward political categories such as U.S. governors but has no effect on attitudes of familiar, individual politicians (e.g., one’s own governor); additional studies further identify familiarity as the critical process. Importantly, we demonstrate that this effect generalizes to all U.S. regions and remains when controlling for and is not moderated by political ideology. These results place a presumed macrolevel political paradox within the domain of cognitive mechanisms of basic information processing.
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This study tested aspects of a theoretical model of the relationship between individual and group differences, media awareness, political awareness, and political ideology and issue stances. Data from the 1996 and 2000 National Election Studies (NES, 1996, 2000) was employed, n=3521. Direct relationships between individual and group differences and political ideology and issues were examined. Variance effects tests, MANOVAs, and moderated regressions demonstrated the importance of examining multiple predictors simultaneously and found significant regional differences, largely ignored in previous research. Media awareness, as a moderator, and political awareness, as a mediator, were included in the. Political awareness did not serve as a mediator of media awareness, but rather as an additional moderator. Results from the moderated regressions suggest that more reliable measures and further model development could lead towards uncovering currently hidden relationships.
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Devising efficient strategies for exploration in large open-ended spaces is one of the most difficult computational problems of intelligent organisms. Because the available rewards are ambiguous or unknown during the exploratory phase, subjects must act in intrinsically motivated fashion. However, a vast majority of behavioral and neural studies to date have focused on decision making in reward-based tasks, and the rules guiding intrinsically motivated exploration remain largely unknown. To examine this question we developed a paradigm for systematically testing the choices of human observers in a free play context. Adult subjects played a series of short computer games of variable difficulty, and freely choose which game they wished to sample without external guidance or physical rewards. Subjects performed the task in three distinct conditions where they sampled from a small or a large choice set (7 vs. 64 possible levels of difficulty), and where they did or did not have the possibility to sample new games at a constant level of difficulty. We show that despite the absence of external constraints, the subjects spontaneously adopted a structured exploration strategy whereby they (1) started with easier games and progressed to more difficult games, (2) sampled the entire choice set including extremely difficult games that could not be learnt, (3) repeated moderately and high difficulty games much more frequently than was predicted by chance, and (4) had higher repetition rates and chose higher speeds if they could generate new sequences at a constant level of difficulty. The results suggest that intrinsically motivated exploration is shaped by several factors including task difficulty, novelty and the size of the choice set, and these come into play to serve two internal goals-maximize the subjects' knowledge of the available tasks (exploring the limits of the task set), and maximize their competence (performance and skills) across the task set.
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The use of advertised reference price promotions, such as “regularly $119.99, sale price $39.99,” is ubiquitous in the marketplace. Thirty years of research supports the conclusion that advertised reference prices (e.g., $119.99) exert an influence on consumers’ responses to offer prices (e.g., $39.99) via their assimilative influence on consumers’ internal reference prices. The present research provides an enriched account of this assimilation process. Specifically, three studies show that increasing the overlap in information made accessible by the advertised reference price and information made accessible by the offer price increases the influence of the information primed by the advertised reference price on the construction of the internal reference price. Consequently, the offer price is considered more attractive. The identification of this process provides insight into additional variables that moderate the influence of advertised reference prices on downstream deal evaluations. Implications for theory, practice, and public policy are discussed.
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In 2 studies, we tested what we considered to be the core of Procter and Gamble™ (P&G™) latest branding strategy: making the association between its corporate brand and its product brands explicit. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the conditions: explicit association between P&G™ and one of its product brands and a control condition. Results from Study 1 showed a positive influence of the corporate brand on judgements of brand quality for Crest™. Similarly, results from Study 2 showed a positive influence of the corporate brand on judgements of brand quality and trust for Oral-B™. From a multidisciplinary perspective, we discussed the theoretical and applied implications of our results. © 2015 International Union of Psychological Science.
Chapter
This chapter addresses the issue of whether the term well-being, particularly the phrase subjective well-being, can be used as an indicator of quality, and quality-of-life. It examines both the way language is used and the cognitive basis of these expressions. Based on the assumption that subjective well-being (SWB), in particular, is a form of emotional expression, the chapter examines whether the phrase is a discrete emotion, a product of cognitive-emotional processes, or cognitive-emotional regulation. It ends with a discussion of how subjective well-being can be modeled. Neurobiological, nonlinear, and simulated embodiment models are considered. The chapter concludes that SWB and quality and quality-of-life, while overlapping concepts, are best keep distinct, since to use them interchangeably dilutes the unique meaning of each. For this reason it is not recommended to consider SWB, in and of its self, as an indicator of quality-of-life or health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL).
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How do our feelings impact the romantic judgments and decisions we make? In a speed-dating context, where people have to judge potential romantic partners sequentially, we investigated whether and how participants’ prior affective state guided romantic desire toward and actual choice for an interaction partner. We found evidence for contrast effects, meaning that romantic judgments contrasted with the affective states participants were in at the start of a new interaction. The more positive (excited, interested, or happy) participants felt after one interaction partner, the less attracted they were toward a new interaction partner, and the more negative they felt (irritated or bored), the more attracted they were. The effect of negative emotions (NEs) was primarily visible in men, for whom more prior NEs even increased the chance of choosing an interaction partner at the end of the evening. The effect of positive emotions (PEs), however, had faded away when people chose their date at the end. Additional analyses revealed that specific emotions showed differential effects on romantic desire and actual choice and that contrast effects were mediated but not fully explained (at least in the case of PEs) by desire toward the previous interaction partner.
Chapter
This chapter looks at everyday meanings of morality in the public sphere in public responses/reactions to alleged transgressive behavior—having collaborated with the Securitate. It explores the uses and functions of lay versions of morality and various interpretive procedures and socio-cultural resources of interpretation that people mobilize. As I showed in the previous chapters, rather than attempt to analyze moral judgments in abstract, one must focus on constructions and uses of morality that talk and text make relevant. In this chapter I want to extend that line of argument to the issue of everyday social responses and social reactions to moral transgression.
Chapter
In this book, 30 contributions provide a comprehensive overview of theories and findings from research on political attitudes and political behaviour, subdivided into the fields of ‘political communication’, ‘political attitudes’, ‘political participation’, ‘voting behaviour’ and ‘methods’.
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Two studies investigated the effects of bringing a highly controversial politician to mind on the evaluations of another politician in the Mexican political context. We took advantage of the dynamic nature of the Mexican political context in which politicians often threaten to leave or actually leave their political parties, influencing the categorization process. We hypothesized that the same controversial politician could elicit assimilation and contrast effects on the evaluations of another politician, depending on whether both political figures were treated as lateral categories or members of the same superordinate category. Study 1 found support for the predicted contrast effects but only among those who did not classify both political figures as members of the same political party. Study 2 found support for the expected interexemplar assimilation effects but only among those who classified both political figures as members of the same political party. The theoretical and applied implications of our results were discussed.
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The central goal of asking questions in a survey is to obtain reliable information about characteristics of the respondent. Asking, and consequently answering questions, however, never occurs in a vacuum. Rather, it occurs in a specific social and cognitive context that may influence responses in undesired ways (e.g., Schuman & Presser, 1981). Thus, a change in the answer to a particular question may not necessarily reflect an attitude change on the part of the respondent but simply may be the influence of a different context. Schuman, Presser, and Ludwig (1981), for example, found that divergent responses toward abortion, as measured in two consecutive surveys, were caused not by a change of opinion over time but by the presence or absence of a particular question before the target question.
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As an alternative to algebraic and schematic models of social judgment, a new exemplar-based model holds that representations of specific individuals influence judgments about persons and groups. (1) As the perceiver encounters or thinks about an individual, a representation of that exemplar as interpreted by the perceiver is stored in memory. (2) When a target person is encountered later, known attributes of similar exemplars from memory influence judgments about the target. Similarity is modulated by the perceiver's attention to stimulus dimensions. (3) Social and motivational factors, including perceiver self-schemata, social context, and in-group/out-group dynamics, influence social judgment by affecting perceivers' attention to dimensions. Computer simulations show how the model accounts for social influences on exemplar access and use, and therefore, on the content of social judgments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Set/reset (L. L. Martin; see record 1987-01092-001) hypothesis that contrast demands more cognitive effort than does assimilation was examined. In Exp. 1, the impressions of distracted Ss showed assimilation toward blatantly primed concepts, whereas the impressions of nondistracted Ss showed contrast. In Exp. 2, Ss told that their ratings would be lumped into a group average showed assimilation, whereas Ss told that their ratings would be examined individually showed contrast. In Exp. 3, the impressions of Ss low in need for cognition showed assimilation, whereas the impressions of Ss high in need for cognition showed contrast. Exp. 1 also showed that the results were not due to differences in recall of the target information, and Exp. 3 showed that the results were not due to differences in recall of the priming stimuli. Together, the results suggest that the processes involved in contrast demand more cognitive effort than do the processes involved in assimilation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Two experiments investigated the judgmental and behavioral consequences of priming a social category. In the first experiment, assimilation and contrast effects of judgment of a target person's hostility obtained following priming with exemplars of, respectively, moderate and extreme levels of the category hostility. The second experiment replicated these findings and, in addition, demonstrated that subjects then behaved consistently with their evaluations of the target person in a social interaction. The results are discussed in terms of the social interaction literature, with category accessibility serving as a means of creating an expectancy for the target's behavior.
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A theoretical model of the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects in part-whole question sequences is presented. When one specific question precedes a general question and the two are not assigned to the same conversational context, respondents use the information primed by the specific question to form the general judgment. This results in part-whole assimilation effects. If both questions are perceived as belonging to gether, however, conversational norms of nonredundancy prohibit the repeated use of information that has already been provided in response to the specific question when making the general judgment. Accordingly, respondents interpret the general question to refer to aspects other than the ones covered by the specific question. Contrast effects may emerge in that case under specified conditions. If several specific questions precede the general question, however, the general one is always interpreted as a request for a summary judgment. This results in assimilation effects, even under conditions that would foster contrast effects if only one specific question is asked. The model is supported by experimental data and provides a coherent account of apparently contradictory findings previously reported in the survey literature.
Chapter
This chapter presents an integrated understanding of various impression formation processes. The chapter introduces a model of impression formation that integrates social cognition research on stereotyping with traditional research on person perception. According to this model, people form impressions of others through a variety of processes that lie on a continuum reflecting the extent to that the perceiver utilizes a target's particular attributes. The continuum implies that the distinctions among these processes are matters of degree, rather than discrete shifts. The chapter examines the evidence for the five main premises of the model, it is helpful to discuss some related models that raise issues for additional consideration. The chapter discusses the research that supports each of the five basic premises, competing models, and hypotheses for further research. The chapter concludes that one of the model's fundamental purposes is to integrate diverse perspectives on impression formation, as indicated by the opening quotation. It is also designed to generate predictions about basic impression formation processes and to help generate interventions that can reduce the impact of stereotypes on impression formation.
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Presents a theory of norms and normality and applies the theory to phenomena of emotional responses, social judgment, and conversations about causes. Norms are assumed to be constructed ad hoc by recruiting specific representations. Category norms are derived by recruiting exemplars. Specific objects or events generate their own norms by retrieval of similar experiences stored in memory or by construction of counterfactual alternatives. The normality of a stimulus is evaluated by comparing it with the norms that it evokes after the fact, rather than to precomputed expectations. Norm theory is applied in analyses of the enhanced emotional response to events that have abnormal causes, of the generation of predictions and inferences from observations of behavior, and of the role of norms in causal questions and answers. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Subjects either were or were not asked to recall the names of politicians who had been involved in a scandal and subsequently evaluated the trustworthiness of politicians in general and of three specific exemplars. Answering the scandal question decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general but increased perceived trustworthiness of specific exemplars. Thus, an assimilation effect was obtained when the target category 'politicians in general" invited inclusion of the scandal politicians in the temporary representation formed of the target. In contrast, the primed politicians could not be included in the representations formed of specific individuals. In this case, they were used as a standard of comparison, resulting in contrast effects. These findings are consistent with the inclusion/exclusion model of assimilation and contrast effects, which emphasizes the role of categorization processes in the construction of targets and standards.
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Research on brand extensions has mainly focused on the similarity between the extension and the core brand as a determinant of assimilation of the extension to the core brand. The studies reported here (a) investigate how the evaluation of an extension can be influenced by means other than actual product similarity and (b) emphasize the role of contrast effects in the evaluation of brand extensions. Two experiments illustrate that the use of brand information in evaluations of a brand extension can be influenced by superficial characteristics of the extension that are under marketers’ control, such as its name. In Experiment 1, a compact car manufactured by a sports car company received a more sports-car-typical evaluation when its name reflected the continuation rather than discontinuation of previous models. Experiment 2 suggests that name discontinuation elicits contrast to previous models. This contrast effect was more pronounced for nonexperts than for experts.
Article
Two experiments investigated the effects of priming (activation of a category by unobtrusive exposure to exemplars of that category) on subsequent judgments in an unrelated task. Subjects were primed with one of four levels of ferocity (size) in the course of a “color perception” experiment, and were later asked to judge the ferocity (size) of real (unambiguous) and unreal (ambiguous) animals. An interaction between ambiguity of judged stimuli (real vs unreal animals) and extremity of primed exemplars (moderate vs extreme levels of ferocity or size) was revealed. Assimilation effects (judgments consistent with the primed category) occurred only when moderate exemplars were primed and ambiguous stimuli judged. Contrast effects occurred when extreme exemplars were primed and ambiguous stimuli judged and, irrespective of extremity of the primed exemplar, when unambiguous stimuli were judged. The results are interpreted in terms of an integration of social judgment and social cognition perspectives.
Article
In this study, respondents' attention was either drawn to Colin Powell's decision to join the Republican Party or to his decision not to run as a presidential candidate of this party before they began to evaluate the Republican Party or Bob Dole. When the Republican Party was first evaluated, thinking about Powell's party membership resulted in more favorable evaluations and thinking about his refusal to run as its candidate resulted in less favorable evaluations relative to a control condition. When Bob Dole was first evaluated, thinking of Powell always resulted in more negative evaluations. Moreover, carryover effects between both judgments were observed (i.e., initial judgments of the party affected subsequent judgments about Dole, and vice versa, in an additive manner). The results are consistent with predictions derived from Schwarz and Bless's inclusion/exclusion model of social judgment. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/68801/2/10.1177_0146167298247002.pdf
Article
We investigated how the perceived typicality of context information for a target category moderates whether that information produces assimilation or contrast in the target evaluation. To manipulate context information, we increased the accessibility of either positive or negative exemplars. These exemplars were pretested to seem moderately typical with respect to the target category if participants were not provided with additional instructions. To manipulate perceived typicality, we provided different instructions so that participants categorized the same activated exemplar as either typical or atypical. Infomation that was perceived as typical resulted in assimilation effects, whereas information that was perceived as aypical resulted in contrast effects. The results showed that the very same context may result in assimilation or contrast as a function of the categorization decisions that operate on the context information.
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