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The Momentary Realist

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Research suggests that people initially take their subjective experience of an object as an accurate reflection of the object's properties, and only subsequently, occasionally, and effortfully consider the possibility that their experience was influenced by extraneous factors. The two studies reported here demonstrate that this is true even when the extraneous factors are the person's own dispositions. Dispositionally happy and unhappy participants were falsely told that they had been subliminally primed with words that might have influenced their moods, and were then asked to identify those words. Dispositionally happy participants were more likely than dispositionally unhappy participants to conclude that they had been primed with positive words, but only when they made these judgments under time pressure. The results are discussed in terms of correction models of human judgment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Harvard University, 2: Lehigh University

Publication date: September 1, 2000


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