Emergent attributes in person perception: A comparative test of response time predictions.
In person perception, emergent attributes are attributes that people ascribe to members of a rare or novel category combination, although they would not ascribe the same attributes to members of either of the constituent categories. The present paper first describes the processing mechanisms suggested by three theoretical models of attribute emergence. Then, competing response time predictions are derived from the models’ respective mechanisms. An empirical test of these predictions in a laboratory experiment with university students (N = 45) is reported. Results support Hastie, Schroeder, and Weber’s (1990) two-stage model, but not Kunda, Miller, and Claire’s (1990) impression-formation model or Smith and DeCoster’s (1998) connectionist account.