Judging books by their covers: how mood and individual differences in intuition affect perceptions of trustworthiness
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Past research focusing on the accuracy of snap judgments of trustworthiness, a construct particularly important (and complex) in social interaction, has thus far produced mixed results. In an effort to establish a better understanding of this judgment process, I suggested that two important factors in trustworthiness assessments are a person's current mood and dispositional tendency to rely on his or her intuition. Study 1 examined the roles of individual differences in faith in intuition (FI) and induced mood in trustworthiness judgments, focusing on whether participants distinguished between criminal mug shots and photos of volunteers/students. Although the main hypothesis was not supported, a significant FI x Mood interaction did emerge, suggesting that negative mood disrupted judgment effectiveness for intuitive individuals, whereas no effects were found within the positive and neutral conditions. Study 2 built on Study 1 by seeking to identify whether the information conveyed by the photos operates at an automatic, affective level. Participants were presented with the most and least trustworthy-rated photos from Study 1 as subliminal primes and then shown unrelated words and asked to rate as quickly as possible whether the word was positive or negative. The hypothesized interaction of photo prime (not trustworthy or trustworthy) x target word valence (negative or positive) predicting reaction time was not found. Interpretations of the results that did emerge, as well as implications and future directions, are discussed.
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