J. van der Pligt
- Trait Attribution: evaluation, description and attitude extremity
- European Journal of Social Psychology
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Examined the importance of evaluation and description in attributional inference. 157 British secondary school students (aged 15-26 yrs) were asked to select 2 adjectives from a set of 6 relating to drug use. Various sets of trait attributes were selected to remove the usual confounding of descriptive and evaluative aspects of trait attribution. Results demonstrate that both evaluative and descriptive aspects play an important role in attributional inference and suggest that extremity of personal attitudes leads to an increasing influence of evaluative factors in the ascription of personality traits. When Ss were forced to choose between evaluative congruity and descriptive consistency, more extreme Ss tended to ignore the descriptive properties of the trait attributes. This finding suggests that more extreme Ss' trait inferences primarily reflected their evaluation of the target. The relative importance of descriptive and evaluative processes in attributional inference o! f judgments is discussed.
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