ERIC Number: ED198451
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Objectives and Strategies in the Layperson's Categorization of Behavior.
Hoffman, Curt; Mischel, Walter
The effects of observational purpose are thought to impact on such diverse processes as categorization, behavior perception, trait ascription, and memory. The role of observational purpose in the categorization of behavior was explored to determine whether differences between trait and goal concepts affect certain information-processing objectives. Episodes describing a college student's behavior were constructed with goal- and trait-based organizations. Subjects (N=30) sorted episodes into five categories and labelled each category according to one of five purposes: recall, empathy, personality impression, prediction of future behavior, or no purpose. Subjects categorizing episodes for recall or empathy organized episodes in terms of the character's goals. Subjects whose purpose was to form a personality impression or to predict future behavior organized episodes in terms of the character's traits. Results suggest that the purpose for which the observer expects to use behavioral information may influence how that information is encoded. Episodes categorized by the recall, personality impression, and no-purpose groups were presented to different subjects (N=36) who read the precategorized episodes and completed a free recall test. Results demonstrated that categorization produced by recall subjects facilitated the ability of new subjects to recall the episodes, relative to categorizations produced by personality impression and no-purpose subjects. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Encoding (Psychological)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (88th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 1-5, 1980).