Spatial Distance Affects Implicit Impressions of Others
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Spatial Distance Affects Implicit Impressions of Others SoYon Rim, James S. Uleman, and Yaacov Trope Department of Psychology, New York University RESULTS CONCLUSIONS INTRODUCTION METHODS Integrating two research domains…

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Spatial Distance Affects Implicit Impressions of Others

SoYon Rim, James S. Uleman, and Yaacov Trope

Department of Psychology, New York University

RESULTS

CONCLUSIONS

INTRODUCTION

METHODS

Integrating two research domains…

Spontaneous Trait Inferences (STIs) (Uleman, Newman, & Moskowitz, 1996)

  • STIs are trait inferences that we make about others from observations of their behaviors

  • STIs form without intentions or awareness

    Ex. She solved the mystery halfway through the book. (infer clever)

    Construal Level Theory (CLT) (Trope & Liberman, 2003)

  • Psychological distance  focus on abstract, global, and central features (high level construal)

  • Psychological proximity  focus on peripheral, concrete, and incidental features (low level construal)Traits are abstract person representations.

    We hypothesized that perceivers form more STIs about spatially distant others than about spatially near others from identical behavioral information.

Two possible alternative hypotheses:

Could perceived familiarity or similarity to target actors explain the results?

Familiarity –

  • Ps were significantly more familiar with the spatially near location (Manhattan) than the spatially distant location (Florence), F(1,38)=30.52, p<.001…

  • but familiarity did not account for the effect of distance when entered as a covariate F(1,37)=6.69, p<.02.

    Similarity –

  • Ps’ perceived similarity to target actors did not vary significantly with distance to actors, F(1,38)<1, p=ns…

  • and similarity did not account for the effect of distance when entered as a covariate, F(1,37)=11.21, p<.005.

Some behavioral sentences imply traits and others explicitly contain traits:

Phase 2: Ps shown actor-trait pairs and asked to determined whether the trait was explicitly present in the sentence they read about the actor in the photo earlier

  • False recognition of an implied trait indicates trait was inferred while reading the earlier sentence

  • Higher proportions of false recognition indicate higher instances of STI formation

  • Perceivers formed more spontaneous trait inferences about spatially distant (Florence) actors than spatially near (Manhattan) actors.

  • This occurred despite identical behavioral information about distant and near actors.

  • This effect could not be explained by perceived familiarity or similarity.

  • Therefore, perceived spatial distance moderates the extent to which perceivers implicitly encode person information in terms of traits.

    Further Questions to Explore:

  • What do perceivers infer about psychologically near actors?

  • Can the effect be replicated with other psychological distance manipulations (i.e. temporal or social distance)?

  • Could these results shed light on cultural differences in the correspondence bias (i.e. differing levels of chronic psychological distance)?

Sample actor/behavior pair

He returned the lost wallet with all the money in it.

Sample actor/trait pair

HONEST

REFERENCES

METHODS

Fujita, K., Henderson, M. D., Eng, J., Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2006). Spatial distance and mental construal of social events. Psychological Science, 17(4), 278-282.

Todorov, A., & Uleman, J. S. (2002). Spontaneous trait inferences are bound to actors’ faces: Evidence from a false recognition paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1051-1065.

Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2003). Temporal construal. Psychological Review, 110, 403-421.

Uleman, J. S., Newman, L. S., & Moskowitz, G. B. (1996). People as flexible interpreters: evidence and issues from spontaneous trait inferences. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 28, pp. 211-279). San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp. 211-279.

Participants: 45 NYU undergraduates

Procedure: False Recognition Paradigm (Todorov & Uleman, 1994)

Phase 1: Ps memorized photographs paired with behavioral sentences under 1 of 2 distance manipulation instructions:

Spatially Distant Condition: Actor/behavior pairs are NYU students studying abroad in Florence, Italy

Spatially Near Condition: Actor/behavior pairs are NYU students studying in Manhattan, NY

***Spatial distance manipulation developed and validated by Fujita, Henderson, Eng, Trope, & Liberman, 2006

RESULTS

As expected, Ps in the spatially distant condition falsely recognized implied traits to a greater extent than Ps in the spatially near condition, F(1,39) = 11.53, p<.005.

For further information:

contact [email protected] OR

[email protected]

[email protected]

New York University, Department of Psychology

6 Washington Pl., 7th Floor

New York, NY, 10003, USA


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