Learning and memory for personality prototypes.

Academic Article


  • Although personality traits are commonly assumed to be represented in memory as schemata, little research has addressed whether such schemata can be learned from observation. Subjects in three studies classified 60 person instances into group members and nonmembers as defined by the instances' match to a complex personality prototype. To simulate learning of fuzzy categories, each person instance provided conflicting cues to group membership. Learning for instances' group membership was excellent across studies. In Study 1, frequency of cues indicating group membership was greatly overestimated among nongroup instances. In Study 2, schema-consistent memory bias was revealed for person instances. In Study 3, schemata of consistently positive (or negative) traits were learned faster than arbitrary schemata. The findings implicated frequency sensitivity of memory (Estes, 1986), and a model of probabilistic cued-memory retrieval was developed to account for the effects. The findings were then discussed in relation to everyday cognitive performance.
  • Authors

  • Mayer, John D.
  • Bower, GH
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 1986
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Extraversion (Psychology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Introversion (Psychology)
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Mental Recall
  • Personality
  • Retention (Psychology)
  • Set (Psychology)
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 3761144
  • Start Page

  • 473
  • End Page

  • 492
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 3