Contextual Behavioral Influences of Perceptions of Relationship Partners: An Analogue Study
AdvisorFollette, William C.
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This dissertation tested a novel contextual behavioral model of factors influencing the accuracy of interpersonal perceptions in situations in which accuracy is vital (i.e., situations in which perceptions influence decisions regarding continued participation in a relationship). An analogue preparation was used to examine the effects of available information, learning history, and motivational variables on interpersonal perceptions. Results from 89 participants indicated that providing clear discriminative stimuli for the behavior of tacting interpersonal similarity significantly influenced perceived similarity. Results only partially supported a proposed model of interpersonal perception that predicted that particular learning histories supporting biased forms of perception and variables increasing motivation to perceive others in a biased manner would interact to significantly decrease accuracy of interpersonal perceptions. It is hoped that the proposed research will serve as a foundation for a progressive, fruitful program of basic and applied research based on a contextual behavioral approach to interpersonal perception specifically and judgment and decision making more generally.