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Variability In Impression Formation: Investigating The Role Of Motivation, Capacity, And The Categorization Process

K. Reynolds, P. Oakes
Published 2000 · Psychology

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Current theory and research suggests that stereotyping is inversely related to the allocation of attentional resources. For example, motivational factors (e.g., interdependence, accuracy goals) are argued to increase attentional investment and encourage individuation. Within this model, a neglected feature of the impression formation process is the role of the perceivers’ own self-definition. Based on self-categorization theory, it is argued that whether the salient self-other categorization is defined in interpersonal or group terms, respectively, will determine whether impressions will be more individuated or stereotypic. Two experiments are reported where the effect of interdependence (Experiment 1) and accuracy goals (Experiment 2) as well as the salient comparative context (interpersonal, intergroup) on impression formation were investigated. The results suggest that the nature of self-other categorizations does play a significant role in explaining variability in impression formation.
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