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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985 Mar;48(3):575-84.

Prototype matching: a strategy for social decision making.


College students responded to a series of questionnaires while they were in the process of selecting housing from a choice of seven available options for the coming fall. Questionnaires concerned their self-concepts, their housing prototypes, their preferences in housing, and their goals in housing selection. Overall analyses of the self-to-prototype matching strategy suggest that most students indeed prefer the type of housing for which their prototype of the "representative" resident most closely matches their self-perceptions. More important, we obtained individual differences in attention to self-fit in situations. Of individuals who reported that they had interpersonal goals in the housing selection task, those who reported that many personality characteristics (both positive and negative) were untrue of self were more systematic in their use of the self-to-prototype matching rule, this was also true of low self-monitors. Neither pattern of individual differences obtained for students with practical goals in the housing decision.

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