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Compensation between warmth and competence : antecedents and consequences of a negative relation between the two fundamental dimensions of social perception

by Kervyn, Nicolas

Abstract (Summary)
Our research focuses on the negative relationship between the two fundamental dimensions of social perception, warmth and competence. Specifically, we examine antecedents and consequences of what has been called the compensation effect, i.e., perceivers’ tendency to differentiate two social targets in a comparative context on the two fundamental dimensions by contrasting them in a compensatory direction. In order to present our theoretical background and highlight the relevance of our empirical research, the first chapter of this theoretical part reviews the research that has identified competence and warmth as the two fundamental dimensions of social perception, and the second chapter reviews how these two dimensions have been used in social psychology. In the third chapter, we review the work that has concentrated on the properties of these two dimensions. And in the fourth and final theoretical chapter, we present recent research that has tested the compensation effect empirically and that constitutes the starting point of the present endeavor. In the experimental part, our ambition has been to get a better understanding of the compensation effect. In Chapter 5, we identify a necessary condition of the emergence of a compensation effect, namely that it is observed on the two fundamental dimensions of social perception, not on any given pair of dimensions. In three experiments we first replicate the compensation effect on the two fundamental dimensions, then we show that if the unmanipulated dimension is not one of the two fundamental dimensions, then a halo effect is observed when a compensation effect would have been observed with the fundamental dimensions. In Chapter 6, we show how the compensation effect affects social perception beyond impression formation. We do so by showing a compensation effect on indirect measures. In the Chapter 7 we test two original predictions based on the compensation effect. First we predict and find that context can affect the ratings of a specific group in a compensatory way. And we show that the compensation effect can be found on mean ratings, and at the correlational level. Second we predict and show that the compensation effect will lead to more differenciated judgments of groups that have a compensatory profile than those that have a halo profile. This is a doctoral thesis based on a series of articles. Therefore we ask the reader to understand that there will be redundancies in the five theoretical introductions of the articles and a number of cross references.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:compensation effect warmth fundamental dimensions of social perception competence

ISBN:

Date of Publication:11/27/2008

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