Formal operational reasoning and the primacy effect in impression formation

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Abstract

Investigated the relationship between level of cognitive development and the primacy effect in impression formation. 48 concrete operational and formal operational 8th graders were presented with blocks of information (photographs) about a target individual and were asked to write an impression. When the information was presented in 2 internally consistent but mutually contradictory blocks, impressions produced by concrete operational Ss contained a significantly greater proportion of evaluative statements in the same evaluative direction as the 1st block of information presented (the primacy effect) than did impressions produced by formal operational Ss. Results support the argument that the processing and organizing abilities measured in “objective” cognitive tasks are also used in social cognition. (10 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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