Misanthropic Person Memory

Oscar Ybarra, Walter G. Stephan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three experiments examined memory for behaviors associated with attributional information. A baseline established in Experiment 1, using behaviors unaccompanied by attributions, indicated that expectancy-inconsistent behaviors were better recalled than consistent ones. Experiment 2 linked these same behaviors to dispositional or situational attributions. After reconceptualizing the results, it was shown that negative dispositionally attributed behaviors and positive situationally attributed behaviors were best recalled, suggesting that there is a negativity bias in person memory for behaviors that are accompanied by attributions. Experiment 3, using a different procedure, served as a replication of this misanthropic memory effect and demonstrated that the effect was only slightly altered by reducing the processing time allocated for this task. The findings were discussed in terms of their implications for expectancy-driven information processing and also with regard to the types of impressions people may form from attributed behavioral information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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