Two experiments investigated how situational information is used to identify behavior (assimilative identification) and to adjust dispositional inferences from the identified behavior (inferential adjustment). Participants heard an ambiguous or unambiguous evaluation of a job candidate by an evaluator who was under situational pressure to present either a positive or negative evaluation. In Experiment 1 participants were under low or high cognitive load. In Experiment 2 the situational information was either validated or invalidated. Results showed that cognitive load and invalidation eliminated the use of situational information for inferential adjustment. Behavior ambiguity determined the use of situational information for assimilative identification. The results suggest that the use of situational information for assimilative identification is resource independent but inflexible, whereas inferential adjustment is flexible but resource dependent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science