Impression formation and repeated measures: The design as a stimulus


  • Dr. Hans Werner Bierhoff

    Corresponding author
    1. Universität Bonn
    • Fachbereich Psychologie der Philipps-Universität, Gutenbergstr, 18. D-3550 Marburg/Lahn, West Germany
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  • Portions of the data reported in this article were presented at the 20. Tagung experimentell arhritrnder Psychologen. Marburg. 1978.


This study investigates the possibility that results of within-subjects studies tend to be design-specific. In a study of impression formation 3×3 row-by-column designs were presented to two groups of judges. The first design (standard-design) included high. Medium, and low levels of the independent variables. The second design (comparison design) included a high/medium/low variation of one independent variable and a high/medium/high variation of the second variable. The judges were asked to reproduce informations. They received relevant informations (which should be reproduced) and additional informations (which were irrelevant for their task). The pattern of results is different within the two designs. While the standard-design reveals a significant main effect for the relevant information, the comparison-design reveals an additional interaction effect between relevant and irrelevant information. The results are attributed to the fact that the design itself is a stimulus.