Bridging attribution and spontaneous inferences: Spontaneous and intentional components of dispositional and situational inferences
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[S.l. : s.n.]
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RU Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 12 mei 2004
Promotor : Vonk, R.
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SW OZ BSI SCP
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
This thesis examines the process of thought social perceivers go through when drawing a social inference: The social inference process. The current thesis bridges the research traditions of attribution research and research of spontaneous inferences, to compare directly the social inferences studied in each area, and to come to a refinement of current models of the social inference process that encompasses both research areas. In the second chapter, we performed two studies that show that, spontaneously, social perceivers can draw both a trait inference and a situational inference. Next, we directly compared the effects of the two major factors in models of the social inference process - processing goals and cognitive load - across the two research traditions. The third chapter compares the effects of processing goals on social inferences across the two research areas. Results indicate that processing goals guide inferences as measured in attribution research, whereas spontaneous inferences occur regardless of processing goals. In the fourth chapter, we compared the effects of both processing goals and cognitive load on attributional versus spontaneous inferences. Results showed that goals guided attributional inferences, and that this influence was weaker without load. Contrastingly, results revealed no influence of load or goals on spontaneous inferences. In final chapter, we proposed a refined view on models of the social inference process that encompasses both research traditions: In the first stage, multiple spontaneous inferences are activated, independent of processing goals and cognitive load, and independent of each other. In the second stage, perceivers attribute intentional inferences to the actor or the situation, guided by processing goals. In the third stage, these goal-dependent inferences are corrected, if ample cognitive capacity is available. Finally, this chapter describes implications of this refined model, and discusses the way in which the current thesis unites attribution and spontaneous inference research
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