Familiarity and person construal: Individuating knowledge moderates the automaticity of category activation

Kimberly A. Quinn, Malia F. Mason, C. Neil Macrae

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21 Citations (Scopus)


In this experiment, we examined how perceivers' familiarity, with targets moderates person construal. Based oil evidence from object categorization that level of construal varies with expertise in a manner that maximizes cue validity, we reasoned that although social (i.e., group-level) categorization is functional for construing unfamiliar others (about whom little or no individuating information is available), it is less functional for familiar others (about whom a great deal of individuating information is available). Results from all automatic priming paradigm provided evidence for our reasoning: Participants categorized unfamiliar faces according to the most salient categorical dimension available in. the visual information (in this case, sex), but did not do so for familiar faces. Implications for models of person perception are discussed. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-861
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date17 Feb 2009
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • face recognition
  • cognitive representation
  • social-perception
  • inverted faces
  • skin tone
  • stereotypes
  • information
  • features
  • gender
  • categorization

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