HARMONIA grant (2016/22/M/HS6/00159) awarded to Piotr Dragon from the National Science Centre (2017-2020). In cooperation with prof. Daniel Wigboldus (Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands).

How people form their opinions about other people? What psychological mechanisms are involved in the process of impression formation? How different dimensions on which we make evaluations of social objects are related to each other? These questions for decades remain in the interest of social psychology, but they still do not have clear answers. The results of research on the relationship between the two dimensions of social perception can serve as an example: the agency (being talented, resourceful, competent) and communion (being nice, friendly, helpful).

Researchers agree that these two dimensions appear at all levels of social perception and underlie most of the social judgements. These dimensions are often referred to as the “big two” of social perception. However, despite the special position of these dimensions and hundreds of publications about them, seemingly simple question – how are these dimensions related to each other? – still has not received a definitive answer. Sometimes these dimensions seem to be independent of each other, sometimes they are related in a positive way (when we assess someone as capable, then we see her/him also as friendly), and other times the relationship is negative (rating someone as capable, is associated with the assessment of that person as hostile). What’s more, results of these two models are explained using different psychological mechanisms.

The aim of this project is to develop and test the model of the relationship between the two fundamental dimensions, which (1) integrates the current knowledge in this field; (2) defines one common mechanism for both effects; (3) sets out the conditions in which given type of relationship can occur, as well as the probability of its occurrence. The model in question is based on connectionist modeling approach, and is tested in the project using computer simulation studies and experimental research.