Interpersonal Similarity, Dissimilarity Bonds: An Expectation-states Approach

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Department of Sociology, Stanford University., 1979 - Expectation (Psychology) - 560 pages
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This thesis concerns the emergence of power and prestige orders among interactants in collectively-oriented task situations. The focal issue concerns conditions under which an individual in such situations will choose some other person to serve as a referent who provides the basis for the formation of performance expectations for the individual. A theory is presented which introduces a hypothetical construct termed an interpersonal similarity/dissimilarity bond which captures the notion that a person may perceive that s/he is so similar (dissimilar) to another person on one or more dimensions, that s/he is also likely to be similar (dissimilar) on other unrelated, but not specifically dissociated, dimensions as well. Under predicted circumstances, a person will form performance expectations for self and others on the basis of these bonds. These expectations will have behavioral manifestations which create an observable power and prestige order. The theory also predicts the con-comitant formation of sentiment structures with behavioral consequences. A laboratory experiment which was conducted as a first test of the theory is described. The results strongly support the notion of interpersonal similarity/dissimilarity bonds and the formation of expectation states. Predictions concerning sentiment structures are less strongly supported; further tests are recommended. (Author).

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