Accumulating evidence suggests that targets' displays of emotion shape perceivers' impression of those targets. Prior research has highlighted generalization effects, such as an angry display prompting an impression of hostility. In two studies, we went beyond generalization to examine the interaction of displays and behaviors, finding new evidence of augmenting effects (behavior-correspondent inferences are stronger when behavior is accompanied by positive affect) and discounting effects (such inferences are weaker when behavior is accompanied by negative affect). Thus, the same display can have different effects on impressions depending on the behavior it accompanies. We found evidence that these effects are mediated by ascribed intentions and that they have a boundary: When behaviors and affective displays are repeated, the augmenting and discounting power of displays appears to wane.

Journal Article
Publication Date
Psychological Science

Full Citation

. “I'll know what you're like when I see how you feel: How and when affective displays adjust behavior-based impressions.”
Psychological Science
, (January 01, 2009):