Person Perception in the College Classroom: Accounting for Taste in Students' Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness
Article first published online: 6 JUL 2009
© 2009 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 39, Issue 7, pages 1609–1638, July 2009
How to Cite
Gross, J., Lakey, B., Edinger, K., Orehek, E. and Heffron, D. (2009), Person Perception in the College Classroom: Accounting for Taste in Students' Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39: 1609–1638. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2009.00497.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 6 JUL 2009
An important applied aspect of person perception occurs when college students evaluate their professors' teaching. Student evaluations of teaching typically are conceptualized as reflecting the characteristics of professors. Yet, this view overlooks the possibility that teaching evaluations also reflect the personal tastes of students, manifested as systematic disagreement among students. Large effects of personal tastes are routinely observed in person perception research and, therefore, should be expected in students' evaluations of teaching. This article describes 3 studies in which students evaluated the same professors' teaching effectiveness. In each study, students' evaluations were strongly influenced by their personal tastes regarding teaching. Moreover, personal tastes in teaching were related in meaningful ways to students' positive affect and memory for lectures.