In line with the principle of compatibility, when making social judgments, people tend to focus on personality attributes compatible with the trait under consideration. Better known, or enriched, personages are more likely to present attributes that are compatible with a particular trait than are personages about whom little is known. As a result, enriched personages are more likely to have various, sometimes even conflicting, traits attributed to them. This hypothesis is supported by a number of studies that compare the frequency with which some people are chosen as being better described by opposite trait adjectives than are others. Celebrities more often have both of a pair of opposing adjectives ascribed to them than do less well known figures. Similarly, subjects judge themselves to be better described by either of a pair of opposite adjectives than is a person who is relatively unknown in their lives. The implications for social judgment and for everyday decisions are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)