Spontaneous trait inferences are bound to actors' faces: Evidence from a false recognition paradigm

Alexander Todorov, James S. Uleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A false recognition paradigm showed that spontaneous trait inferences (STIs) are bound to the person performing a trait-implying behavior. In 6 experiments, participants memorized faces and behavioral sentences. When faces were paired with implied traits in a recognition test, participants falsely recognized these traits more often than unrelated traits paired with the same faces or the same traits paired with familiar faces. The effect was obtained for a large set of behaviors (120), each presented for 5 s, and for behaviors that participants did not subsequently recognize or recall. Antonyms of the implied traits were falsely recognized less often than unrelated traits, suggesting that STIs have extended implications. Explicit person-trait judgments predicted both false recognition and response times for implied traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1065
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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