Herbert Bless, Axel M. Burger
Assimilation and contrast in social priming

Current Opinion in Psychology, 2016: 12, pp. 26-31
ISSN: 2352-250X

The investigation of context effects in social judgment has revealed numerous variables that influence the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects as consequences of social priming. The present manuscript provides an overview of the core findings of this research. The discussion of the variables determining assimilation versus contrast is embedded in the inclusion/exclusion model of social judgment (IEM), which holds that including accessible information into the representation of the judgmental target elicits assimilation effects while excluding it from the target representation causes contrast. Exclusion processes are triggered when individuals perceive accessible information as not relevant, or not representative, or when conversational rules suggest that using the accessible information is not adequate. It is proposed that much of the available evidence on the determinants of assimilation versus contrast effects can be organized into this general framework.