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Toward an Integrative Framework for Studying Human Evaluation: Attitudes Toward Objects and Attributes.

  • Author(s): Ledgerwood, Alison;
  • Eastwick, Paul W;
  • Smith, Leigh K
  • et al.

Evaluation is central to human experience, and multiple literatures have studied it. This article pulls from research on attitudes, human and nonhuman mating preferences, consumer behavior, and beyond to build a more comprehensive framework for studying evaluation. First, we distinguish between evaluations of objects (persons, places, things) and evaluations of attributes (dimensions, traits, characteristics). Then, we further distinguish between summarized attribute preferences (a valenced response to a direction on a dimension, such as liking sweetness in desserts) and functional attribute preferences (a valenced response to increasing levels of a dimension in a set of targets, such as the extent to which sweetness predicts liking for desserts). We situate these constructs with respect to existing distinctions in the attitude literature (e.g., specific/general, indirect/direct). Finally, new models address how people translate functional into summarized preferences, as well as how attribute preferences affect (a) subsequent evaluations of objects and (b) situation selection.

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