Spontaneous trait inference and transference: Exploring the link between names and traits

Tânia Ramos, Leonel Garcia-Marques, David Hamilton


Previous research has shown that spontaneous trait inferences (STI) made from behaviors are bound to actor’s faces. Additionally, research has shown that inferred traits can also become associated with the faces of communicators of the behaviors through spontaneous trait transference (STT). In this study, we replaced the actors’ pictures by actors’ names, in order to investigate whether names of actors and communicators (e.g., Carl Smith) can also become attached to inferred traits. Under these conditions, evidence of STIs was obtained, but not of STTs. These results show that the association between traits and communicators (STT) is highly dependent on the visual salience of the communicator. In contrast, STIs occur even when actors are not visually salient. Results are discussed in terms of the processes underlying STIs and STTs.


Spontaneous trait inference, Spontaneous trait transference, Names, Association, Gossipers.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1320


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