On the updating of spontaneous impressions.

A large body of work has shown that perceivers form spontaneous inferences about others’ characteristics (e.g., mean, bad) as soon as they observe their behaviors. However, a question that has not been addressed by previous research is the integration of contingencies of those actions (e.g., perceivers’ ultimate goals) that are typically learned over time into the initial spontaneous impressions of those others. Three experiments examined updating of spontaneously formed trait inferences (STIs) and evaluative inferences (SEIs) as a function of the contingency information that alters the meaning of the initial information. All three studies showed that perceivers update their SEIs (both positive and negative) immediately after learning about the contingencies (i.e., transforming information). STIs, however, were not updated, even when the contingency information was provided immediately after the initial behavior information (Experiment 3). Instead, in all three experiments participants formed multiple STIs; one from the behavior information before and one from the information after the contingency. It was only when participants had the opportunity to elaborate on their trait judgments within explicit measures that they revised their judgments and aligned them with the contingency information. The results and the implications of the findings are discussed in light of the theoretical models suggesting separate mechanisms of semantic and evaluative processing in person perception. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)