Children's impressions of other persons: the effects of temporal separation of behavioral information. Academic Article uri icon


  • The study addresses the role of developmental differences in the use of behavioral information that is acquired at different points in time in the person perception/attribution process. The topic of temporal separations was considered to be potentially important because of the possibility that age differences in information use might at least partially explain developmental differences in children's conceptualizations of personality traits and abilities and more generally, because integration over time is an aspect of naturalistic perception processes that has not been widely studied from a developmental perspective. The result of the study supported the general hypothesis that younger and older children respond differently to temporally distributed patterns of behavior. Specifically, it was found that younger children use behavioral information that was observed in the past primarily when an actor's immediate behavior conflicts with stereotypical expectations for behavior. When there is no conflict, younger children seem to use only an actor's current, immediate behavior when forming an impression. The implications of this finding for the maintenance of the stereotypical beliefs and expectations regarding persons are discussed along with the implications for children's understanding of psychological dispositions.

published proceedings

  • Child Dev

author list (cited authors)

  • Rholes, W. S., & Ruble, D. N.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Rholes, WS||Ruble, DN

publication date

  • January 1986