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Psychol Sci. 2008 Mar;19(3):296-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02083.x.

Night and day, you are the one: on circadian mismatches and the transference effect in social perception.

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Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD, USA.


A study examined the relation between individuals' circadian rhythm and their tendency to exhibit transference effects in social perception. Individuals tested at times of circadian mismatch (i.e., morning persons tested in the evening and evening persons tested in the morning) exhibited more pronounced transference effects than individuals tested at times of circadian match (i.e., morning persons tested in the morning and evening persons tested in the evening). These findings are compatible with the notion that transference effects represent everyday social-cognitive functioning related to activation of social schemata. Additionally, however, they suggest that transference effects are not the inevitable consequence of activating the significant other's schema. Rather, such effects might be particularly likely to occur when an individual's mental resources are limited, as might be the case during circadian mismatches. This latter suggestion differs from psychodynamic views of transference as exclusively a driven, energy-intensive phenomenon.

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