What emotional reactions can tell us about the nature of others: An appraisal perspective on person perception

  • Hareli S
  • Hess U
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Abstract

The present research aimed to assess how people use knowledge about the emotional reactions of others to make inferences about their character. Specifically, we postulate that people can reconstruct or “reverse engineer” the appraisals underlying an emotional reaction and use this appraisal information to draw person perception inferences. As predicted, a person who reacted with anger to blame was perceived as more aggressive, and self-confident, but also as less warm and gentle than a person who reacted with sadness (Study 1). A person who reacted with a smile (Study 1) or remained neutral (Study 2) was perceived as self-confident but also as unemotional. These perceptions were mediated by perceived appraisals.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Appraisal
  • Emotions
  • Person perception

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