The perceptual determiniants of person construal: Reopening the social-cognitive toolbox.

J. Cloutier, M. F. Mason, C Neil MacRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Guided by a heuristic account of social-cognitive functioning, researchers have attempted to identify the cognitive benefits that derive from a categorical approach to person construal. While revealing, this work has overlooked the fact that, prior to the application of categorical thinking as an economizing mental tool, perceivers must first extract category-triggering information from available stimulus cues. It is possible, therefore, that basic perceptual processes may also contribute to people's propensity to view others in a category-based manner. This possibility was explored in 3 experiments in which the authors investigated the ease with which perceivers can extract categorical and identity-based knowledge from faces under both optimal and suboptimal (i.e., inverted faces, blurred faces, rapidly presented faces) processing conditions. The results confirmed that categorical knowledge is extracted from faces more efficiently than identity-related knowledge, a finding that underscores the importance of perceptual operations in the generation of categorical thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-894
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume88
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • person perception
  • categorical thinking
  • social-cognitive toolbox
  • mental economy
  • INFORMATION-PROCESSING STRATEGIES
  • UNDERSTANDING FACE RECOGNITION
  • UPSIDE-DOWN FACES
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • UNFAMILIAR FACES
  • INVERTED FACES
  • STEREOTYPES
  • ACTIVATION
  • INVERSION
  • SEX

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