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Development and Representation of Personality Impressions


A developmental model of impression formation was tested. Results indicated that the mental representation of personality impressions depends on the perceiver's degree of experience with the impression target. At low levels of experience, impressions consist primarily of stored behavioral exemplars. However, as experience increases, an abstract impression is formed that is subsequently stored and retrieved independently of the behaviors on which it was based. Experiment 2 demonstrated that impressions continue to evolve once they have become abstract and that behavioral exemplars affect judgments even when they are not directly retrieved for judgment purposes. These findings highlight the importance of applying dynamic approaches to impression-formation research.

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