Primed self-construal, culture, and stages of impression formation

S. Adil Saribay, So Yon Rim, James S. Uleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of culture on impression formation are widely documented but poorly understood. Priming independent and interdependent self-construals, and focusing on particular stages of impression formation, could help remedy this because such self-construals differ across cultures. In three experiments, participants' were primed with independent or interdependent self-construals before they formed spontaneous or intentional impressions of others. In Experiment 1, lexical decision reaction times showed that both traits and situational properties were activated spontaneously, but were unaffected by self-construal priming. In Experiment 2, a false-recognition paradigm showed that spontaneous trait inferences were bound to relevant actors' faces, again regardless of self-construal priming. In Experiment 3, explicit ratings did show priming effects. Those primed with independent (but not interdependent) self-construal inferred traits more strongly than situational properties. Primed self-construals appear to affect intentional but not spontaneous stages of impression formation. The differences between effects of primed and chronic self-construals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012


  • Culture
  • Impression formation
  • Self-construal
  • Spontaneous situational inferences
  • Spontaneous trait inferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology


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