Favorable and Unfavorable Target Expectancies and Social Information Processing

Oscar Ybarra, Linda Schaberg, Shelley Keiper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The certainty engendered by expectancies and the degree to which relevant information is subsequently processed should differ depending on the expectancy's favorability. Consistent with this proposal, the results of Experiment 1 indicated that favorable expectancies elicited more testing of the expectancy than did unfavorable expectancies and engendered greater memory performance overall. In Experiment 2 these findings were replicated, and results also showed that unfavorable expectancies led to attentional decrements in impression formation whereas favorable expectancies did not. In Experiment 3 comparable results were obtained using information (traits) that has been shown to induce confirmatory processing. Also, participants indicated that they were more cognitively engaged with the impression task when they held favorable rather than unfavorable expectancies. Finally, the findings of Experiment 4 showed that participants who held favorable expectancies did not show primacy effects in judgment, whereas participants who held unfavorable expectancies did.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-709
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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