Term of Award
Master of Science in Psychology
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)
Department of Psychology
John D. Murray
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Social categories facilitate cognitive processing because they activate expectations of behavior and other associated knowledge. Whereas most research has focused on the role of stereotypes in social perception, the present research investigated the differential processing associated with traits and stereotypes in impression formation. According to the encoding flexibility model, perceivers conceptually encode schema-consistent information better than schema-inconsistent information and perceptually encode schema-inconsistent information better than schema-consistent information when forming impression of others Given the structural differences in stereotypes and traits, perceivers were expected to demonstrate altered encoding patterns depending on how the target was labeled. These differences emerged using a primary impression formation task followed by an implicit memory task. Under low cognitive capacity, participants primed with a stereotype perceptually encoded inconsistent words to a much greater extent than consistent words. The pattern was reversed for conceptual target words. In contrast, participants primed with a trait did not demonstrate encoding variability perceptually or conceptually. Furthermore, these differences did not emerge under high cognitive capacity conditions. The implications for these findings are discussed as they relate to social perception.
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Cantey, Alyson L., "Encoding Flexibility of Social Categories in Impression Formation" (2003). Legacy ETDs. 6.