Hypothesis-testing processes in social interaction

Mark Snyder, William B. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

574 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 4 separate investigations, female undergraduates were provided with hypotheses about the personal attributes of other individuals (targets). Ss then prepared to test these hypotheses (i.e., that their targets were extraverts or that their targets were introverts) by choosing a series of questions to ask their targets in a forthcoming interview. In each investigation, Ss planned to test these hypotheses by preferentially searching for behavioral evidence that would confirm the hypotheses. Moveover, these search procedures channeled social interaction between Ss and targets in ways that caused the targets to provide actual behavioral confirmation for Ss' hypotheses. A theoretical analysis of the psychological processes believed to underlie and generate both the preferential search for hypothesis-confirming behavioral evidence and the interpersonal consequences of hypothesis-testing activities is presented. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1202-1212
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume36
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1978

Keywords

  • hypotheses about personal attributes of target individuals, preferential search for hypothesis-confirming behavioral evidence, female college students

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