Effects of contrast and generalization on the attitude similarity-attraction relationship

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Abstract

36 undergraduates read about the attitudes of 2 strangers (A and B) whom they had met and who had both initially agreed with the Ss on 50% of a number of topics. After a brief period of time, each S again met the 2 strangers. During this 2nd meeting, Stranger A continued to agree with the S at a 50% rate, whereas Stranger B agreed with the S at a 100% rate. In the 1st condition, the 2 strangers were depicted as members of the same group, and in a 2nd condition, the 2 strangers were depicted as members of different groups. Results indicate that after the 2nd meeting, there was less of a difference between the attractiveness of Strangers A and B in the same-group condition compared to the different-group condition. In addition, within the different-group condition, Stranger A was liked less after the 2nd meeting than after the 1st meeting, whereas within the same-group condition, Stranger A was liked more after the 2nd meeting than after the 1st meeting. Results support the notion that the effects of contrast are accentuated when 2 individuals being rated are distinct entities (members of different groups), whereas generalization is accentuated when the 2 individuals are not distinct entities (members of the same group). (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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