Anxiety and impression formation: Direct information rather than priming explains affect-congruity

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Abstract

Both affect-priming and affect-as-information theories predict that when people are anxious they will form affect-congruent impressions of others, but via different mechanisms. Affect-priming asserts that memory mediates the influence of anxiety on judgement, whereas affect-as-information asserts that people attribute anxiety to the target of judgement. As these theories predicted, anxious participants in Study 1 found an impression-formation target to be more threatening than did control participants. However, this effect was not mediated by memory, and was attenuated in Study 2 when anxious participants attributed their affect to a source other than the target. These findings suggest that anxious people form affect-congruent impressions of others because they attribute their anxiety to the impression-formation target rather than because anxiety primes affect-congruent memory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1469
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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