Person Memory and Judgment

  • Srull T
  • Wyer R
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Two general types of information about a person are considered in this article: One pertains to specific behaviors a person has manifested, and the other refers to more abstract personality disposi-tions or behavioral tendencies. A theoretical model of person memory that incorporates both types of information is developed. The model accounts for a large number of factors that are known to affect the recall of social information, the making of interpersonal judgments, and the relation be-tween what is recalled and the judgments that are made. A major strength of the model is its applica-bility to a wide range of person memory and judgment phenomena that are observed in several different experimental paradigms. The mental representation we form of a person is often called an impression. Research in impression formation is fundamen-tally concerned with two issues. One is the way in which infor-mation about a person is encoded and organized in memory. The second is how the resulting mental representation is trans-formed into social judgments, affective reactions, and behav-ioral decisions. This article provides a theoretical account of the processes that underlie the formation of person impressions. The theory further specifies the way in which these representations are used in recall and social judgment. More specifically: 1. The theory predicts differences in the total amount of in-formation that one is likely to recall about another person, the specific type of information that is recalled under different con-ditions, the order in which such information is recalled, and the latencies associated with recall. 2. The model describes the role of both descriptive and eval-uative factors in the recall and use of person information and specifies the way in which the recall of a person's behavior is affected by trait-based expectancies for what the person is like. 3. The model provides a basis for identifying the priorities that are given to various activities under conditions in which information-processing demands are high. 4. The model predicts the effects of information about a per-son on both trait judgments and likeableness judgments. A ma-jor strength of the model is its ability to predict both the type

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  • Thomas K Srull

  • Robert S Wyer

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