Citation:Vonk, R. (in press). Effects of behavioral causes and consequences on person judgments. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Abstract:
Two scenario studies address the effects of the consequences of an actor s behavior, as a function of behavioral causes (dispositional, situational) and behavior valence. In Experiment 1, the behaviors were likeability-related. As predicted, inferences about the actor were more extreme when the behaviors produced consequences for others than when they did not affect others, but only when the behaviors were likeable. In Experiment 2, the behaviors were ability-related. Only incompetent behaviors were judged more extremely when they affected others. A parallel pattern of findings emerged for the effects of behavioral causes: Judgments of dispositional behaviors were more extreme than of situationally caused behaviors, but only for likeable and incompetent behaviors. Thus, inferences of likeable and incompetent behaviors were affected by causes and consequences, but dislikeable and competent behaviors were perceived as informative regardless of their causes and consequences.