Beneficial Impression Management: Strategically Controlling Information to Help Friends

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Abstract

It was hypothesized that people will strategically regulate information about the identities of friends to help them create desired impressions on audiences. Experiment 1 demonstrated that participants described a friend consistently with the qualities preferred by an attractive, opposite-sex individual but inconsistently with the qualities preferred by an unattractive, opposite-sex individual. Experiment 2 showed that a friend who had a high social need to make a good impression on an interviewer was described more positively than a friend who did not have such a need or a stranger regardless of social need. Impression management to benefit friends by promoting and protecting their desired identities may be one of the more common and pleasant forms of help giving in everyday life.

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