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Reading: A Psycholinguistic Paradigm of Dual Information Processing in Social Cognition


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Research Article

A Psycholinguistic Paradigm of Dual Information Processing in Social Cognition


Ann Hendrickx ,

Laboratorium voor Experimented Psychologie, K.U.Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, BE
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Guido Peeters

University of Leuven, BE
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A psycholinguistic paradigm is presented which confronts subjects with ambiguous sentences exemplified by “Jan thinks he is taller than Bert is. Bert thinks the same. Who is the taller according to Bert?” This information can be interpreted in two ways, either in a personalised self-other (SO) way (Bert also thinks he himself is taller), or in a depersonalised third person (3P) way (Bert also thinks Jan is taller). The same SO-3P-ambiguity was conceptualised before in a social-perceptual paradigm which required subjects to form impressions of stimulus persons on the basis of interpersonal relations. It was expected that the psycholinguistic paradigm would be suited to deal with the same psychological processes. In an experiment the new paradigm was found to confirm and extend the main conclusions suggested by studies run with the social-perceptual paradigm. Specifically, a bias to process information in the SO-way was confirmed but it could be demonstrated that this bias was confined to the processing of affective stimulus information. In addition, it was confirmed that information that was semantically related to the concepts self and other facilitated the SO-way, and that information related to the subject's own self activated the 3P-way. The conclusions highlight the convergence of the psycholinguistic paradigm with previous social-perceptual research, and point to its resemblance with other dual models in social perception.

How to Cite: Hendrickx, A. and Peeters, G., 1997. A Psycholinguistic Paradigm of Dual Information Processing in Social Cognition. Psychologica Belgica, 37(4), pp.205–218. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 1997.
Peer Reviewed


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