The nurturance trait and personality impression formation

The present study was directed toward the question of whether the presence of a trait in the perceiver would influence his perception of the same trait in a real stimulus person. The trait for investigation was nurturance, as measured by the EPPS. Students enrolled in five sections of an intoductory psychology course at San Fernando Valley State College served as subjects. All subjects were administered the EPPS. On the basis of their nurturance scores, subjects were divided into a high, middle, and low group. Two months after the EPPS had been administered, a stimulus person was introduced in each class to present a brief lecture. Three descriptions of the stimulus person were systematically distributed prior to his arrival. The descriptions were identical with the exception of two words which differed. For a third of the subjects, the stimulus person was described as a "rather cold" person, while for another third of the subjects, the word "warm" was substituted for "cold." A third description was distributed in which the words "cold" and "warm" were deleted. The stimulus person appeared, delivered a brief lecture, and left. Students then rated him on a set of fifteen traits and on five descriptive statements related to the nurturance trait. Finally subjects wrote free descriptions of the stimulus person. (See more in text.)