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J Exp Soc Psychol. 2008 Jul;44(4-2):1082-1090.

Your own actions influence how you perceive other people: A misattribution of action appraisals.

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Centre for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Wales, Adelaid Brigantia, Penrallt Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2AS, UK.


The attribution of personal traits to other persons depends on the actions the observer performs at the same time (Bach & Tipper, 2007). Here, we show that the effect reflects a misattribution of appraisals of the observers' own actions to the actions of others. We exploited spatial compatibility effects to manipulate how fluently-how fast and how accurately-participants identified two individuals performing sporty or academic actions. The traits attributed to each person in a subsequent rating task depended on the fluency of participants' responses in a specific manner. An individual more fluently identified while performing the academic action appeared more academic and less sporty. An individual more fluently identified while performing the sporty action appeared sportier. Thus, social perception is-at least partially-embodied. The ease of our own responses can be misattributed to the actions of others, affecting which personal traits are attributed to them.

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