The experiment employed a modification of Craik & Tulving's (1975) incidental learning procedure to test recruitment of familiar-other exemplars as reference points in thinking about acquaintances. After performing an initial trait-rating task, subjects were unexpectedly asked to identify which targets were paired with each of the trait-adjectives used in that task. We assumed that if, in making judgments regarding Person X (target), the subject spontaneously activates a representation of Person Y (social reference point) then the subject may later incorrectly identify Person Y as the original target. Obtained pattern of target identification errors was consistent with the notion of a privileged status of familiar others as points of reference in thinking about less familiar persons.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.