Implicit impressions of other people: influences and effects.
Our impressions of, and reactions to other people are both explicit and implicit. Traditional research on person perception focused on the explicit level, giving research participants explicit goals to form impressions, presenting explicit relevant information, and assessing perceptions with explicit measures. But over the past 20 years, it’s been well established that implicit impressions are just as important, and can be studied through a growing array of methods. Implicit impressions may be formed spontaneously (without intentions or even awareness), at encoding. They may be based on (or influenced by) information that perceivers are unaware of, and have effects that perceivers do not recognize or cannot control. My students, collaborators and I study such implicit impressions (see Uleman et al., 2008), as well as other unintended (Uleman & Bargh, 1989), spontaneous inferences (e.g., Hassin et al., 2002).
When people read that “The secretary solved the mystery half-way through the book,” most infer that he is clever, even without any explicit intention to form impressions. Evidence for such spontaneous trait inferences (STIs) comes from studies relying on cued recall (Uleman et al, 1993; 1994), probe recognition reaction times (Uleman, Hon et al, 1996), lexical decision RTs (Zárate et al, 2001), and false recognition rates (Todorov & Uleman, 2002; 2003; 2004). See Uleman, Newman, & Moskowitz (1996) for a review of early empirical work, and Uleman (1999) for more theoretical speculations. Here are a few of the interesting phenomena that have emerged from this work.
Many questions remain for future research, beyond how to better understand the effects noted above. We are working on some of these:
More generally, I’m interested in social cognition, person perception, and how social motives and situations affect these.
Education:Ph.D. 1966 (social psychology), Harvard University
B.A. 1961 (psychology), University of Michigan
No Degree, 1957-59 (phsyics), Caltech
Society for Experimental Social Psychology
Fellowships/Honors:- Fellow, American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science
- Associate Editor, Social Cognition (1994-2006)
- National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health research grants
Saribay, S. A., Rim, S., & Uleman, J. S. (2012). Primed self-construal, culture, and stages of impression formation. Social Psychology (special issue on Culture as Process), 43, 196-204.
Uleman, J. S., Rim, S., Saribay, S. A., & Kressel, L. M. (2012). Controversies, questions, and prospects for spontaneous social inferences. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6, 657-673.
Uleman, J. S., & Saribay, S. A. (2012). Initial impressions of others. In K. Deaux & M. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford handbook of personality and social psychology (pp. 337-366). New York: Oxford University Press.
Uleman, J. S., Kressel, L. M., & Rim, S. (2011). Spontaneous inferences provide intuitive beliefs on which reasoning proper depends. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34, 90-91. (Commentary on Mercier & Sperber’s Why do humans reason? Arguments for an argumentative theory. BBS, 34, 90-91)
Kressel, L., & Uleman, J. S. (2010). Personality traits function as causal concepts. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 213-216.
Uleman, J. S., Saribay, S. A., & Gonzalez, C. (2008). Spontaneous inferences, implicit impressions, and implicit theories. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 329-360.
Uleman, J. S., Blader, S. L., & Todorov, A. (2005). Implicit impressions. In R. R. Hassin, J. S. Uleman, & J. A. Bargh (Eds.). The new unconscious (pp. 362-392). New York: Oxford University Press.
Hassin, R. R., Uleman, J. S., & Bargh, J. A. (Eds.) (2005) The new unconscious. [ a sequel to Uleman & Bargh's Unintended Thought, 1989 ]. New York: Oxford University Press.
Todorov, A., & Uleman, J. S. (2004). The person reference process in spontaneous trait inferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 482-493.
Todorov, A., & Uleman, J. S. (2003). The efficiency of binding spontaneous trait inferences to actors' faces. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 549-562.
Hassin, R., Bargh, J. A., & Uleman, J. S. (2002). Spontaneous causal inferences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38, 515-522.
Todorov, A., & Uleman, J. S. (2002). Spontaneous trait inferences are bound to actors: Evidence from false recognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1051-1065.
Zárate, M. A., Uleman, J. S., & Voils, C. I. (2001). Effects of culture and processing goals on the activation and binding of trait concepts. Social Cognition (special issue on culture and cognition), 19, 295-323.
Uleman, J. S., Rhee, E., Bardoliwalla, N., Semin, G., & Toyama, M. (2000). The relational self: Closeness to ingroups depends on who they are, culture, and the type of closeness. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3, 1-17.*
Uleman, J.S. (1999). Spontaneous versus intentional inferences in impression formation. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.). Dual-process theories in social psychology (pp. 141-160). New York: Guilford.
Uleman, J. S., Hon, A., Roman, R., & Moskowitz, G. B. (1996). On-line evidence for spontaneous trait inferences at encoding. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 377-394.
Uleman, J. S., Newman, L. S., & Moskowitz, G. B. (1996). People as flexible interpreters: Evidence and issues from spontaneous trait inference. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 28, pp. 211-279). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Rhee, E., Uleman, J.S., & Lee, H.K. (1996). Variations in collectivism and individualism by ingroup and culture: Confirmatory factor analyses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1037-1054.
Rhee, E., Uleman, J. S., Lee, H. K., & Roman, R. J. (1995). Spontaneous self-concepts and ethnic identities in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ,69, 142-152.
Uleman, J.S., & Moskowitz, G.B. (1994). Unintended effects of goals on unintended inferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 490-501.
Uleman, J. S., Moskowitz, G. B., Roman, R. J., & Rhee, E. (1993). Tacit, manifest, and intentional reference: How spontaneous trait inferences refer to persons. Social Cognition, 11, 321-351.
Newman, L.S., & Uleman, J.S. (1993). When are you what you did? Behavior identification and dispositional inference in person memory, attribution, and social judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 513-525.
Uleman, J.S., & Bargh, J.A. (Eds.), (1989). Unintended thought. New York: Guilford.
Department of Psychology