Effect of snap and thoughtful judgments on person impressions


  • This article is based on a thesis submitted to the Ohio State University Psychology Department in partial fulfillment of the requirement for a master's degree.


Judgment type (snap and thoughtful) and valence of stimulus person (from likable to unlikable) were varied as within-subjects factors in four studies to test whether situational and motivational variables (as opposed to the perceptual variable of unit formation) would interfere with integrative activity in forming first impressions. If such variables are influential, both the averaging and meaning shift formulations would expect that snap judgments should produce less extreme impression ratings than more thoughtful judgments. None of three indices of integrative activity (impression ratings, component ratings and variance of impression ratings) detected a difference between the snap and thoughtful response conditions for early and late judgments in a series, for moderate or extreme traits, or for between- or within-subjects designs. These findings suggest that certain boundary conditions need to be placed on the assumptions underlying the averaging and meaning shift formulations.