Scandals and the public’s trust in politicians: Assimilation and contrast effects

Studied the inclusion/exclusion model of assimilation and contrast effects. 32 university students either were or were not asked to recall the names of politicians who had been involved in a scandal and subsequently evaluated the trustworthiness of politicians in general and of 3 specific exemplars. Answering the scandal question decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general but increased perceived trustworthiness of specific exemplars. Thus, an assimilation effect was obtained when the target category “politicians in general” invited inclusion of the scandal politicians in the temporary representation formed of the target; the exemplars were not included in this category, but were used as a standard of comparison, resulting in contrast effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)