Spontaneous trait inferences among Japanese elementary, junior high-school, and university students

Yuki Shimizu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


People tend to spontaneously make trait inferences from exposure to others' behaviors without the intention to do so. In the present study, two experiments investigated the occurrence of spontaneous trait inferences (STIs) among Japanese 5th graders, 7th graders, and undergraduates using a relearning paradigm. Participants' recollections of portrait-trait pairs after being presented with congruent behaviors were compared with their recollections after incongruent behaviors. If participants showed better recollections after being presented with congruent behavior descriptions, this indicated that they spontaneously inferred the actor's trait from the behavior. The results suggested that 5th and 7th graders as well as undergraduates showed STIs from behavior descriptions that implied negative traits, although they showed few STIs from descriptions that implied positive traits. It was assumed that STIs are developed by 1011 years of age at the latest, and that the processes of STIs from negative and positive descriptions might differ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-470
Number of pages9
JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Implicit process
  • Impression formation
  • Person perception
  • Personality trait
  • Spontaneous trait inference (STI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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