The effects of predicting a person's behavior on subsequent trait judgments

Robert S. Wyer, Thomas K. Srull, Sallie Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experiment investigated the effects of (a) initial trait adjective descriptions of a person, and (b) predictions of the person's behavior on subsequent judgments of this person. Subjects received adjectives describing a particular trait of a person, and then estimated the likelihood that the person would manifest behaviors that exemplified both this and a second trait. Their subsequent judgments of the person with respect to the second trait were biased toward the descriptive implications of the behaviors they had predicted, and also toward the evaluative implications of the original stimulus adjectives. These and other results suggested that a cognitive representation of the target person is formed in the course of making initial judgments and predictions, and that features of this representation, rather than the information that led to its construction, are used as bases for later judgments. Other implications of the results for the influence of trait and behavioral information on judgments are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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