Influence of implicit priming on social perception

Construct accessibility has been found to play an important role in the interpretation of social information. Even when a construct is primed implicitly it has been proven to have a temporary effect on person perception. The present experiment examined the effects of increasing the construct accessibility for the traits of friendliness and hostility on social perception. The interaction of these two trait categories with person perception and gender was also investigated. Subjects performed a task in which they were unknowingly exposed to either 0%, 20%, or 80% friendly or hostile words. Next, subjects read a behavioral description that was ambiguously related to both hostility and friendliness, and rated the stimulus person on several trait scales. Although there were no significant priming effects in the experimental condition, two separate experiments indicate that effects would have been found had the exposure time during the priming task been slower. There was a significant gender difference in the hostility rating of the behavioral description across conditions; the implications of this are discussed.