Participants engaged in a getting-acquainted interaction over an intercom after one participant (the perceiver) was provided with a positive (extraverted) or relatively negative (introverted) expectation about the other participant (the target). After completing evaluations of each other and the interaction, participants interacted for a second time. Prior to this second interaction, however, targets were made aware of the perceivers' initial expectation, told that it had been confirmed by their own behavior, and given a randomly assigned attribution (either dispositional or situational) about the perceived cause of their confirmatory behavior. Results demonstrated that targets made aware of dispositionally attributed and relatively negative expectations were more likely to increase in expectation-disconfirming behavior, compared to targets made aware of situationally attributed and relatively negative expectations, who were themselves more likely to continue to confirm the expectations. Implications for the study of behavioral confirmation of expectations and other interpersonal processes are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health to Mark Snyder. Maureen Keefe ably served as a research assistant for the study. We also gratefully acknowledge the advice and counsel of the members of the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations at the University of Minnesota.