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J Psychol. 2011 May-Jun;145(3):247-65. doi: 10.1080/00223980.2011.558132.

When low-warmth targets are liked: the roles of competence, gender, and relative status.

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Department of Psychology, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan.


Previous research has shown that people use warmth and competence as basic dimensions to evaluate others and to interpret their behavior, but little research has examined the conditions under which low-warmth targets are liked. A series of 3 experiments involving 4 vignettes showed, in general, that low-warmth targets were better liked when they exhibited higher competence and that high-status persons displayed greater tolerance toward the low-warmth person of low status. Exceptions to these patterns were predicted and found as a function of the type of organizational context in which evaluations were made: groups that place priority on individual goals over common goals and groups that are performance oriented rather than relationship oriented. Target gender interacted with competence and relative status.

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