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Taking a closer look: On the operation of nonconscious impression formation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date05/2008
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


In this article, we analyzed the information processing that underlies nonconscious impression formation. In the first experiment, the nonconscious activation of the impression formation goal led to a faster analysis of the trait implications of behaviors, compared with a control group. In Experiment 2, participants who were nonconsciously primed with an impression formation goal were more likely than those in a control condition to form associations in memory between behaviors and implied traits. In Experiment 3, nonconsciously primed participants were more sensitive than those in a control condition to whether inconsistent trait information was relevant or irrelevant to the actor's disposition. Moreover, in Experiments 2 and 3, those with a nonconscious goal showed just as much evidence of impression formation as those who were consciously and intentionally trying to form an impression. Implications for nonconscious goal-pursuit and impression formation are discussed. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.