Communication and cognition vol:12 issue:2 pages:201-216
The formation of impressions of personality in Asch's warm-cold experiments, as well as data from Osgood's semantic differential research, are accounted for using a relativistic evaluative meaning concept. The latter concept implies that evaluative meaninbg is defined in relation to non-evaluative "descriptive" meaning components. Specifically, the evaluative meaning of a term is conceived as a function of the degree of agreement between the non-evaluative meaning carried by the term and a "norm" or "standard." Referring to Coombs' psychological space model, the norm or standard is conceived as an "ideal point" in a semantic space constituted by non-evaluative dimensions. This "ideal point" can be set in various ways depending upon behavioral and verbal-cognitive constraints. In this way the relativistic evaluative meaning concept is consistent with Katz (1964) and Fillenbaum & Rapoport (1971) who claim that "good" and "bad" should not be regarded as independent of other attributes.