Evaluation and Judgment

High School
1 page (250 words)

What are the different ways in which we evaluate people?

The way in which people evaluate each other is also known as social cognition. Concepts from this area of study include impression formation, attribution, and impression formation. We form impressions of each other by relying on schemata, which are our sets of expectations about others. First impressions are the strongest according to the concept of primacy effect. Attribution refers to the idea that people make judgments of each other by deducing causes of their behaviors. Additionally, the manner in which we are attracted to other people (proximity, values, intimacy) plays a role in our judgments or evaluations.

How do these factors play a role in our expectations of other people?

Schemata, which play an important role in impression formation, are expectation sets that we evaluate people with. For example, we may have a schema in mind for a dentist. The competency of this professional would be determined by their ability to match this model.

We also use schemata to make inferences about other, and we process information and memories about others based on these models. Attributions alter the way in which we judge the cause of a person’s actions to be either internal or external (due to personal or environmental factors, respectively). Finally, interpersonal attraction contributes to our expectations based on the amount of reward we experience in exchanges with others.

What are the disadvantages of these expectations?

The use of schemata in impression formation may lead to the development of stereotypes (expectations based on group membership). Additionally, schema usage may lead to the biased treatment of others, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of their expected behavior based on stereotypes and other such expectations. Fundamental attribution errors can arise as we tend to base other’s behaviors on internal factors (as opposed to external for our own), or we may exercise defensive attribution to protect our own egos. Also, attribution may lead to use of the just-world hypothesis, where victims are blamed in the case of bad things happening to others. Lastly, attraction of any type may lead to biased judgments and evaluations of others.


Morris, C. G., & Maisto, A. A. (2004). Psychology: An introduction (12th ed.), Englewood Cliffs,         NJ: Prentice Hall.