Behaviors inconsistent with our general impression of another person are remembered better than are consistent behaviors, especially when only a few inconsistent behaviors occur (the set-size effect). In most previous studies of person memory, the behaviors to be remembered were accompanied by explicit trait information. Our studies showed that set-size effects also occurred when trait information was delayed or absent (Experiment 1) or when it contradicted the behavioral information (Experiment 2), but not when subjects were discouraged from forming a unitary impression (Experiment 3). These data do not support the hypothesis that the recall advantage for inconsistent behaviors depends on the presence of an advance expectancy, nor do they support a list-learning account of person memory. The results are most compatible with a model in which the perceiver spontaneously generates a behavior-based impression that is functionally equivalent to an expectancy-based impression in guiding memory for behaviors.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Personality and Social Psychology|
|State||Published - Jul 1987|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science