This article applies to:
Experiment Author: Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
Participants were given the same descriptions of a person, with instructions either to remember the descriptions, or to use them to construct an impression of someone. The people given impression formation instructions were more likely than those given memory instructions to remember the traits.
This is a 3 part experiment. In the first part, the participant randomly sees one of two possible sets of instructions; using the phrases presented, the participant is to either form an impression of the person described or memorize each description of the person described. Each set of instructions are written in .txt files that are opened and read by E-Prime via Inline script. Fifteen phrases describing actions are randomly sampled from sentenceList. Each phrase appears for eight seconds.
The second part of the experiment is a different task that is given by the experimenter outside of E-Prime. With the experiment still open and running, a Wait Object is utilized and set for a 5 Minute duration (300,000 ms) until presenting instructions for the third part of the experiment.
The third part of the experiment is a recall task. Participants are to recall words from the previous part of the experiment and are told that they have 4 minutes to do so. Each word is to be typed individually followed by the Enter key before typing the next word.
Hamilton, D.L., Katz, L.B., & Leirer, V.O. (1980). Cognitive representation of personality impressions: Organizational processes in first impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 1050-1063. (See PDF file below).
Cited Experiment Abstract
In three experiments subjects given either impression formation or memory task instructions read a series of behavior descriptions that either did or did not contain a highly distincitive item. In each study subjects given impression formation instructions recalled significantly more items than did subjects in the memory condition. Subjects given impression formation instructions were more likeyly to recall a distinctive item, but presence of a distinctive item in the stimulus list had little effect on recall of the other items. Results are discussed in terms of the organization of information acquired during the process of impression development.
Works Cited by the Experiment
Anderson, J.R., & Bower, G.H. Human associative memory. Washington, D.C.: Winston, 1973.
Anderson, N.H. Information integration theory: A brief survey. In D. Krantz, R.C. Atkinson, R.D. Luce, & P. Suppes (Eds.), Contemporary developments in mathematical psychology (Vol. 2). San Francisco: Freeman, 1974.
Bransford, J.D., & Johnson, M.K. considerations of some problems of comprehension. In W.G. Chase (Ed.), Visual information processing. New York: Academic Press, 1973.
Hastie, R., & Kumar, P.A. Person memory: Personality traits as organizing principles in memory for behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1979, 37, 25-38.
Jaccard, J.J., & Fishbein, M. Inferential beliefs and order effects in personality impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1975, 31, 1031-1040.
Langer, E.J., & Abelson, R.P. The semantics of asking a favor: How to succeed in getting help without really dying. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1972, 24, 26-32.
Lingle, J.H., Geva, M., Ostrom, T.M., Leippe, M.R., & Baumgardner, M.H. Thematic effects of person judgments on impression organization. Jornal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1979, 37, 674-687.
Norman, W.T. Toward an adequate taxonomy of personality attributes: Replicated factor structure in peer nomination personality ratings. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1963, 66, 574-583.
Rumelhart, D.E., & Ortony, A. The representation of knowledge in memory. In R.C. Anderson, R.J. Spiro, & W.E. Montague (Eds.), Schooling and the acquisition of knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1977.
Smith, E.E., Adams, N, & Schorr, D. Fact retrieval and the paradox of interference. Cognitive Psychology, 1978, 10, 438-464.
Wallace, W.P. Review of the historical, empirical, and theoretical status of the von Restorff phenomenon. Psychological Bulletin, 1965, 63, 410-424.
STEP: Category Accessibility and Impression Formation 
Please sign in to leave a comment.