Individual differences in the spontaneous construal of behavior: Idiocentrism and the automatization of the trait inference process

Kimberley J. Duff, Leonard S. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Previous research indicated that idiocentrism (an individual difference corresponding to the culture-level variable of individualism) is positively correlated with spontaneous trait inference (STI). This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that a belief in the utility of trait interpretations should lead one to practice and automatize the trait inference process. In Study 1, idiocentrism correlated negatively with spontaneous inferences about situational causes of behavior. The positive relationship between idiocentrism and spontaneous inference is thus specific to trait inferences. In Study 2, a priming manipulation was used to examine the accessibility of trait concepts as a possible mediator of the relationship between idiocentrism and STI. However, trait priming boosted trait-cued recall only for idiocentric participants, suggesting instead that the key distinction between nonidiocentric and idiocentric people is that the former lack an automatized trait inference procedure. This research demonstrates how cross-cultural concepts can prove useful for other areas of social psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-241
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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