Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 82, issue 3 (2002) pp. 379-398
The authors articulate a model specifying links between (a) individuals and the physical environments they occupy and (b) the environments and observers' impressions of the occupants. Two studies examined the basic phenomena underlying this model: Interobserver consensus, observer accuracy, cue utilization, and cue validity. Observer ratings based purely on offices or bedrooms were compared with self- and peer ratings of occupants and with physical features of the environments. Findings, which varied slightly across contexts and traits, suggest that (a) personal environments elicit similar impressions from independent observers, (b) observer impressions show some accuracy, (c) observers rely on valid cues in the rooms to form impressions of occupants, and (d) sex and race stereotypes partially mediate observer consensus and accuracy. Consensus and accuracy correlations were generally stronger than those found in zero-acquaintance research.
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