The role of affective and cognitive individual differences in social perception

Antonio Aquino, Geoffrey Haddock, Gregory Maio, Lukas J. Wolf, Francesca R. Alparone

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Three studies explored the connection between social perception processes and individual differences in the use of affective and cognitive information in relation to attitudes. Study 1 revealed that individuals high in need for affect (NFA) accentuated differences in evaluations of warm and cold traits, whereas individuals high in need for cognition (NFC) accentuated differences in evaluations of competent and incompetent traits. Study 2 revealed that individual differences in NFA predicted liking of warm or cold targets, whereas individual differences in NFC predicted perceptions of competent or incompetent targets. Furthermore, the effects of NFA and NFC were independent of structural bases and meta-bases of attitudes. Study 3 revealed that differences in the evaluation of warm and cold traits mediated the effects of NFA and NFC on liking of targets. The implications for social perception processes and for individual differences in affect–cognition are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-810
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
Early online date18 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016



  • Affect
  • Cognition
  • Individual Differences
  • Social Perception

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