Rater's personality as a moderator of context effects in performance appraisals

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

David A. Kravitz

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Brlan L. Cutler

Third Advisor's Name

Juan I. Sanchez


Rating of Employees, Employees, Context effects (Psychology)

Date of Defense



Undergraduates rated scripts describing the performance of different instructors in the following order: two positive or negative scripts followed by an average script; or two average scripts followed by a positive or a negative script. Context effects were assessed by comparing ratings of the target stimulus in the context and in the context-free control conditions. Several individual difference variables were measured as possible moderators of this phenomenon. Results indicated robust contrast effects mediated by beliefs in the variability of human nature in the extreme context conditions. In the positive context condition, high scorers in Variability were not affected by context, whereas medium or low scorers in Variability exhibited contrast effects. In the negative context condition, high scorers in Variability exhibited a more extreme contrast effect than medium or low scorers in Variability. In the average context conditions, contrast was observed only when the target was positive.



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