Eliciting Facial Affect, Motivation, and Expectancies in Transference: Significant-Other Representations in Social Relations

Susan M. Andersen, Inga Reznik, Lenora M. Manzella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent research has demonstrated transference in social perception, denned in terms of memory and schema-triggered evaluation in relation to a new person (S. M. Andersen & A. B. Baum, 1994; S. M. Andersen & S. W. Cole, 1990; S. M. Andersen, N. S. Glassman, S. Chen, & S. W. Cole, 1995). The authors examined schema-triggered facial affect in transference, along with motivations and expectancies. In a nomothetic experimental design, participants encountered stimulus descriptors of a new target person that were derived either from their own idiographic descriptions of a positively toned or a negatively toned significant other or from a yoked control participant's descriptors. Equal numbers of positive and negative target descriptors were presented, regardless of the overall tone of the representation. The results verified the memory effect and schema-triggered evaluation in transference, on the basis of significant-other resemblance in the target person. Of importance, participants' nonverbal expression of facial affect when learning about the target person (i.e., at encoding) reflected the overall tone of their significant-other representation under the condition of significant-other resemblance, providing strong support for schema-triggered affect in transference, through the use of this unobtrusive, nonverbal measure. Parallel effects on interpersonal closeness motivation and expectancies for acceptance/rejection in transference also emerged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1108-1129
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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