How changes in temporal distance affect prediction of an actor's future behavior based on spontaneous trait inferences

[Speaker] Taniguchi, Yuri:1
[Co-author] Ikegami, Tomoko:1
1:Osaka City University (Japan)

People spontaneously infer traits from an actor's observed behaviors. They also use these inferences to make predictions of an actor's future behaviors. The spontaneous trait inference (STI) is more likely if it is ascribed to a behavioral event that is temporally distant rather than near. We conducted two experiments to explore what happens if temporal distance changes between the time of observation and prediction. Results indicated that when participants made an STI from temporally distant behaviors elicited by an actor, they continued to rely on the STI to make predictions about the actor's future behavior, even if temporal distance changed from distant to near (Experiment 1). However, even when participants did not make an STI from an actor's temporally near behaviors, they did make predictions in terms of an implied trait when the temporal distance changed from near to distant (Experiment 2). The persistence and flexibility of STI was discussed.
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