Inference is the act of judging a person, even when limited information is available. People usually form their inferences by paying attention to important information around them and then using a set of rules to come to some decision. When people infer why something happened, they often consider whether the outcome was positive or negative. Positive outcomes tend to be socially desirable, whereas negative outcomes are perceived as socially undesirable. Thus, the social desirability of a behavior determines the qualities people infer about the person who committed the act.

Prominent Perspectives

Fritz Heider's attributional perspective tries to explain how regular people decide where the behavior of others originates. When people infer that someone's behavior was the result of stable personality traits, they make a dispositional inference, ...

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