Processing inconsistent social information


Evidence suggests that expectations can influence the reporting of social events. The present research examined whether social information consistent with expectations is rated more accurately than information inconsistent with expectations and, further, whether such a bias arises during the initial encoding of material or during later stages of a rating task. 64 undergraduates in each of 2 experiments were presented with the traits of a group of individuals, and later they were asked to report this information on simulated rating forms. Analyses indicated that trait information consistent with expectations was rated more accurately and remembered better than information inconsistent with expectations. Expectations not only influenced the initial encoding of the trait material but also appeared to have an effect during later stages of the rating process. Beyond their theoretical significance, the findings have implications for the use of observer ratings in social science research. (44 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1983 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology