Inference making and linking both require thinking: Spontaneous trait inference and spontaneous trait transference both rely on working memory capacity

Brett M. Wells, John J. Skowronski, Matthew T. Crawford, Cory R. Scherer, Donal E. Carlston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past research suggests that spontaneous trait inference (STI) and spontaneous trait transference (STT) may reflect different cognitive processes, the former being inferential and the latter associational. The present research was designed to explore whether either or both of these processes involve thinking that occupies cognitive capacity. Four studies suggest that reductions in available cognitive capacity reduce both STI and STT effects, both on measures of savings in relearning (which reflect the strength of trait associations with a person) and on trait ratings measures (which reflect the strength of trait inferences made about a person). Similar results were obtained using an individual difference measure of cognitive capacity. Although these results suggest that STI and STT are similar, in that both exhibit interference from reductions in cognitive capacity, other results, such as halo effects in trait ratings, support previous assertions that their underlying processes are distinct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1116-1126
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Inference making and linking both require thinking: Spontaneous trait inference and spontaneous trait transference both rely on working memory capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this