The relationship between spontaneous trait inferences and spontaneous situational inferences: A developmental approach

Qing Zhang1, Ningjuan Fang2
1Department of Political Science and Law, Shandong Youth University of Political Science, People’s Republic of China
2Shandong Jinan Quancheng Middle School, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Zhang, Q., & Fang, N. (2016). The relationship between spontaneous trait inferences and spontaneous situational inferences: A developmental approach. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(4), 569-578.

Volume 44 Issue 4 | e5017 | Published: May 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.4.569

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Using a recognition probe paradigm, we examined the relationship between the strength of tendency to make spontaneous trait inferences (STIs) and the strength of tendency to make spontaneous situational inferences (SSIs) among 3 groups of Chinese children and adolescents (N = 144) aged 8, 11, and 14 years, respectively. The results showed that the children could make both STIs and SSIs simultaneously from the age of 8 years. Both 8- and 11-year-olds were more likely to make SSIs than STIs, but for the 11-year-olds there was no difference between the strength of tendency to make STIs and the strength of tendency to make SSIs. These results are discussed in the light of social judgment processes, and of cultural differences in spontaneous impression formation.

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