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Anchoring and Adjustment During Social Inferences

Anchoring and Adjustment During Social Inferences Simulation theories of social cognition suggest that people use their own mental states to understand those of others—particularly similar others. However, perceivers cannot rely solely on self-knowledge to understand another person; they must also correct for differences between the self and others. Here we investigated serial adjustment as a mechanism for correction from self-knowledge anchors during social inferences. In 3 studies, participants judged the attitudes of a similar or dissimilar person and reported their own attitudes. For each item, we calculated the discrepancy between responses for the self and other. The adjustment process unfolds serially, so to the extent that individuals indeed anchor on self-knowledge and then adjust away, trials with a large amount of self–other discrepancy should be associated with longer response times, whereas small self–other discrepancy should correspond to shorter response times. Analyses consistently revealed this positive linear relationship between reaction time and self–other discrepancy, evidence of anchoring-and-adjustment, but only during judgments of similar targets. These results suggest that perceivers mentalize about similar others using the cognitive process of anchoring-and-adjustment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Experimental Psychology: General American Psychological Association

Anchoring and Adjustment During Social Inferences

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0096-3445
eISSN
1939-2222
DOI
10.1037/a0028232
pmid
22506753
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Simulation theories of social cognition suggest that people use their own mental states to understand those of others—particularly similar others. However, perceivers cannot rely solely on self-knowledge to understand another person; they must also correct for differences between the self and others. Here we investigated serial adjustment as a mechanism for correction from self-knowledge anchors during social inferences. In 3 studies, participants judged the attitudes of a similar or dissimilar person and reported their own attitudes. For each item, we calculated the discrepancy between responses for the self and other. The adjustment process unfolds serially, so to the extent that individuals indeed anchor on self-knowledge and then adjust away, trials with a large amount of self–other discrepancy should be associated with longer response times, whereas small self–other discrepancy should correspond to shorter response times. Analyses consistently revealed this positive linear relationship between reaction time and self–other discrepancy, evidence of anchoring-and-adjustment, but only during judgments of similar targets. These results suggest that perceivers mentalize about similar others using the cognitive process of anchoring-and-adjustment.

Journal

Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Feb 16, 2013

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