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Changes in impression complexity over time and across situations.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull 2001 Sep; 27(9):1071-1085
This set of studies tested the idea that higher levels of acquaintance with an individual would be associated with greater impression complexity. Two aspects of acquaintance were examined: length of relationship and contextual diversity of interactions. In Study 1, participants provided written descriptions of acquaintances known for different lengths of time and at different levels of contextual diversity. Contextual diversity in interactions with an acquaintance was associated with (a) less evaluative and descriptive consistency in impressions, (b) greater contextual differentiation in impressions, and (c) the development of causal theories to explain the acquaintance's behaviors. In Study 2, impression complexity was assessed using a trait-sort task. Contextual diversity, but not length of relationship, was associated with higher complexity scores.
Personality-traits; Psychological-adaptation; Psychological-reactions; Psychological-responses; Behavior-patterns; Behavioral-tests; Humans; Mental-health
Jennifer L.Welbourne, Health Communication Research Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road, MS 4050, Morgantown, WV 26505
Issue of Publication
Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division