Encoding of personal information: Self-other differences

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Abstract

Self-other differences in processing personal information were investigated in 5 experiments with a total of 53 undergraduates by having Ss make self-referent (describes you?) or other-referent (describes experimenter?) ratings of personal adjectives. Results indicate that self-ratings were consistently judged as easier to make, and Ss always placed more confidence in these judgments. An analysis of rating times showed that only adjectives with long rating times were recalled for the unknown-other-referent task (Exps II and III). In contrast, the recalled words for the self-referent task had very short rating times. This difference is explained via a “2-process” interpretation. Unknown-other-referent processing involves a relatively inefficient rehearsal or effort strategy, whereas self-referent processing involves the self as a highly organized and efficient schema. The effects of familiarity on other-referent processing were examined in Exps IV and V. A model of other processing is formulated to account for the observed changes in processing information about a familiar other. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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