Mental Construal Processes: The Inclusion/Exclusion Model

This chapter addresses feature-based judgments and explores the mental construal processes involved in forming representations of the target and standard. It highlights that the same piece of information can result in assimilation as well as contrast effects, depending on how it is used. We begin with a discussion of mental construal processes. Subsequently we address the variables that determine whether a given piece of information is used in constructing the target, giving rise to assimilation effects, or in constructing the standard, giving rise to contrast effects. Throughout, our discussion follows the logic of our inclusion/exclusion model (IEM; Schwarz & Bless, 1992a), which has fared well over the decade since its original presentation. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of construal processes for three applied issues, namely asymmetries in public opinion and the dynamics of stereotype change and brand extensions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the chapter)