Negativity and potency effects in impression formation
Article first published online: 4 DEC 1998
Copyright © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 26, Issue 6, pages 851–865, November/December 1996
How to Cite
VONK, R. (1996), Negativity and potency effects in impression formation. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 26: 851–865. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199611)26:6<851::AID-EJSP790>3.0.CO;2-9
- Issue published online: 4 DEC 1998
- Article first published online: 4 DEC 1998
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 SEP 1995
- Manuscript Received: 1 AUG 1994
This study examined the combined effects of likeability-related and potency-related information in an impression formation setting, using a 2 (likeability of target behaviour: high/low)×2(potency: high/low) design. Presumably, the behaviour of a strong, dislikeable person can produce more severe consequences than the behaviour of a weak, dislikeable or a strong, likeable person and, consequently, should be perceived as more informative. As predicted, judgements of the target person's likeability and potency indicated that (a) dislikeable behaviour carries more weight in likeability judgements when it co-occurs with strong than with weak behaviour, and that (b) strong behaviour carries more weight in potency judgements when it co-occurs with dislikeable than with likeable behaviour. These results suggest that the informativeness of behaviour is not only a function of its perceived causes (i.e. underlying dispositions) but also of its potential consequences for others.