Authors: Irene M. Bravo and David A. Kravitz

Title: Context effects in performance appraisals: Influence of target value, context polarity, and individual differences.

Source: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 1681-1701. 1996.

Undergraduate students (N = 207) completed 3 individual difference measures and then evaluated 3 instructors based on scripts depicting interactions between the instructors and students. The first 2 scripts established a context and the third script served as the target stimulus. Comparison ratings were provided by a random context control condition. Contrast effects occurred in ratings of the average target stimulus, and the negative context had a larger impact than did the positive context. Both of these context effects were moderated by the rater's belief in the variability of human nature, but not by the rater's cognitive ability or field independence. Contrast effects also occurred in ratings of the positive target stimulus but not in ratings of the negative target stimulus, and in neither case was the context effect moderated by any of the individual difference variables.

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