chapter  4
30 Pages

Traits as Action Categories Versus Traits as Person Attributes in Social Cognition

Traits are conspicuous elements of social description. In a recent study, for example, members of a college seminar were asked to describe each other at various times during the course (Park, 1986). Fully 65% of their descriptions involved trait concepts. Other studies that have examined open-ended descriptions of others have also supported the importance of traits, although the prevalence of trait references has not always been as striking as in Park's study (Fiske & Cox, 1979; Peevers & Secord, 1973).