ERIC Number: ED374045
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Distinctiveness and Social Interaction.
Nelson, Lori J.; Klutas, Kristin
This document is the report of a study of the distinctiveness effect on social infraction. Distinctive characteristics are those aspects of a person that are statistically uncommon within a social or cultural context. Previous research shows that people tend to categorize and make judgments about others on the basis of their distinctive characteristics. This phenomenon is referred to as the "distinctiveness effect." Unlike the previous studies, in which the subjects were responding to information about hypothetical people, the purpose of the present study was to demonstrate the distinctiveness effect in responses to real people. The researchers manipulated the perceived distinctiveness categories and examined the effects on responses to members of those categories. A situation was set up in which bogus information about an individual's distinctive characteristics and information about an individual's nondistictive characteristics provided conflicting expectations about that individual. The prediction that the individuals would be judged on the information provided about their supposed distinctive traits was supported. The study showed that people tend to base their judgments about an individual with whom they are unacquainted primarily on information about that individual's distinctive characteristics. This may have a lasting effect on the individual due to self-fulfilling prophecy and the important role of initial expectations on subsequent interaction. (DK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Distinctiveness Effect
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (101st, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 20, 1993).