Motivated impressions of a powerholder: Accuracy under task dependency and misperception under evaluation dependency

Laura E. Stevens, Susan T. Fiske

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Two experiments assessed the impression-formation strategies used by asymmetrically dependent (powerless) people to form impressions of powerholders. The experiments contrast two types of asymmetrical dependency: task dependency (short-term, goal-oriented outcome contingency) and evaluation dependency (expecting evaluations of one's performance or abilities). Experiment 1 hypothesized and found that asymmetrical task dependency increases accuracy-driven impression-formation processes: Task-dependent people attend to information that disconfirms initial expectancies about a powerholder and, if asymmetrical, do not discount trait information. Experiment 2 found that evaluation dependency increases motivated misperception to view the powerholder positively. Evaluation-dependent people attend to and then discount negative information, which is reflected in their ratings of a powerholder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-922
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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