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Prior research has found that perceiving positive responses from others following self-disclosures enhances social bonds and plays a role in the maintenance of romantic relationships. We sought to extend this effect by exploring perceived responsiveness to good news in the context of initial social interactions with a stranger. In this study, unacquainted college students (n = 106) participated in a 45-minute semi-structured social interaction, and information on their emotions and behaviours was collected immediately after and one week later. We found that the receipt of supportive reactions to self-disclosure attempts during the social interaction was associated with immediate positivity and a more positive memory of the event (remembered enjoyment and positive emotions) one week later. This effect could not be attributed to how positively the event was experienced immediately afterwards, suggesting that perceived responsiveness during an initial social interaction facilitates a positive memory bias. These results offer new insights into how friendships might develop and be maintained.
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Perceived responsiveness during an initial
social interaction with a stranger predicts a
positive memory bias one week later
Evan M. Kleimana, Todd B. Kashdana, Samuel S. Monforta, Kyla A. Machella
& Fallon R. Goodmana
a Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Published online: 10 Apr 2014.
To cite this article: Evan M. Kleiman, Todd B. Kashdan, Samuel S. Monfort, Kyla A. Machell & Fallon R.
Goodman (2014): Perceived responsiveness during an initial social interaction with a stranger predicts a
positive memory bias one week later, Cognition & Emotion, DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2014.905458
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2014.905458
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BRIEF REPORT
Perceived responsiveness during an initial social
interaction with a stranger predicts a positive memory
bias one week later
Evan M. Kleiman, Todd B. Kashdan, Samuel S. Monfort, Kyla A. Machell, and
Fallon R. Goodman
Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Prior research has found that perceiving positive responses from others following self-disclosures
enhances social bonds and plays a role in the maintenance of romantic relationships. We sought to
extend this effect by exploring perceived responsiveness to good news in the context of initial social
interactions with a stranger. In this study, unacquainted college students (n= 106) participated in a
45-minute semi-structured social interaction, and information on their emotions and behaviours was
collected immediately after and one week later. We found that the receipt of supportive reactions to
self-disclosure attempts during the social interaction was associated with immediate positivity and a
more positive memory of the event (remembered enjoyment and positive emotions) one week later.
This effect could not be attributed to how positively the event was experienced immediately
afterwards, suggesting that perceived responsiveness during an initial social interaction facilitates a
positive memory bias. These results offer new insights into how friendships might develop and be
maintained.
Keywords:Perceived responsiveness; Relationships; Social interactions; Positivity; Emotion.
Strong social support networks and close, meaning-
ful relationships are fundamental to well-being
(Cohen & Hoberman, 1983; Cohen & Wills,
1985). First impressions are the gateway to forming
strong social networks. This is because the
success or the failure of an initial social interaction
often determines whether a new acquaintance
will become a friend. Researchers have investigated
several factors that increase the probability of a
successful first impression, such as physical
Correspondence should be addressed to: Todd B. Kashdan, Department of Psychology, George Mason University, MS 3F5,
Fairfax, VA 22030, USA. E-mail: tkashdan@gmu.edu
Todd Kashdan was funded by NIMH Grant [R21-MH073937] during the time of data collection and currently by the Center for
Consciousness and Transformation, George Mason University.
© 2014 Taylor & Francis 1
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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attractiveness, personality traits, information seek-
ing and, of particular importance to the present
study, perceived responsiveness to self-disclosure
(Sprecher, Wenzel, & Harvey, 2008). Reis and
Shavers(1988) intimacy model posits two compo-
nents contribute to relational intimacy in romantic
and non-romantic relationships: self-disclosure
(i.e., revealing information about the self) and
perceived responsiveness to this self-disclosure.
That is, whether or not self-disclosure results in
increased intimacy is contingent on ones percep-
tion of a supportive response. Studies find that
perceived responsiveness to self-disclosure both
mediates (Gore, Cross, & Morris, 2006) and
moderates (Gable & Reis, 2010) the relationship
between self-disclosure and positive relationship
outcomes.
Responding positively to another persons self-
disclosure is an important aspect of close relation-
ships. Supportive responses to self-disclosure can
be displays of genuine interest, asking questions
about the disclosed topic or any active search for
additional information. A supportive response to
information disclosed suggests that an interaction
partner cares about the disclosers well-being.
Among romantic couples, a tendency towards
positive responses to self-disclosure has been
shown to translate into greater relationship satis-
faction and commitment (Gable, Gonzaga, &
Strachman, 2006; Kashdan, Ferssizidis, Farmer,
Adams, & McKnight, 2013; Maisel, Gable, &
Strachman, 2008). Moreover, perceived respon-
siveness is related to secure attachment styles
(Shallcross, Howland, Bemis, Simpon, & Frazier,
2011) and high self-esteem (Smith & Reis, 2012).
Although the majority of studies support
perceived responsiveness as a beneficial factor in
pre-existing romantic relationships, only a few
studies have examined perceived responsiveness
in newly forming (Shelton, Trail, West, &
Bergsieker, 2010) or established (e.g., Gore et al.,
2006) platonic relationships. In a daily diary study
where participants were instructed to befriend
someone they did not currently know well, per-
ceived responsiveness mediated the link between
self-disclosure and intimacy (Shelton et al., 2010).
Similar associations have been observed among a
sample of new college roommates. For these
individuals, perceived responsiveness mediated the
relationship between emotional disclosure and
relationship quality (Gore et al., 2006). These
studies suggest two things about perceived respon-
siveness: (1) it is a process that occurs both in
existing relationships and between people who do
not know each other well (i.e., acquaintances) and
(2) it is a proximal predictor of creating intimacy
and strong relationships. Although several studies
have demonstrated the benefits of perceived
responsiveness within romantic relationships,
friendships and acquaintances, little is known about
the role of perceived responsiveness in social
interactions with complete strangers. To date,
one experimental study examined perceived
responsiveness in strangers. Reis, Maniaci,
Caprariello, Eastwick, & Finkel (2011) found
that the relationship between greater levels of
self-disclosure (conceptualised as longer periods
interacting in an experimental interaction para-
digm) and interpersonal attraction was mediated
in part by greater perceived responsiveness. Our
studydeviatesfromReisetal.(2011) by examining
how the effect of perceived responsiveness persists
in the days after the initial interaction. Focusing on
this prolonged period might give important
information about the formation of new friend-
ships from unacquainted strangers. All strong
friendships and romantic relationships begin
between strangers, and understanding the pro-
cesses involved with generating closeness during
the early stages of a relationship is an under-
represented area of research. The current study
addressed this gap in the literature.
There are several reasons why perceived
responsiveness may be especially relevant to the
formation of friendships among unacquainted
strangers. In the short-term, perceived responsive-
ness might make an interaction more enjoyable
and enhance the perceived positivity of the shared
positive event (i.e., biasing the memory towards
positivity; Reis et al., 2010). Because initial social
interactions among strangers are often charac-
terised by uncertainty, perceived responsiveness
can serve as a concrete signal that the other party
is engaged and interested. Social cues that signal
KLEIMAN ET AL.
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interest (e.g., perceived responsiveness) might
facilitate longer and more intimate interactions,
which could then lead to increased positive emo-
tions during and following the interaction. Using a
daily diary approach, Gable, Reis, Impett, and
Asher (2004) found that when individuals dis-
closed their most positive event each day with
significant others, they reported higher daily
positive affect and life satisfaction. These effects
remained even when controlling for the direct
benefits of having a positive event to share. We
expect that such effects also exist when disclosing
to strangers. Thus, individuals who disclose pos-
itive events and subsequently perceive more posit-
ive responsiveness may experience more intense
and enduring positive emotions. This is important
because in longitudinal and experimental studies,
positive emotions have been shown to precede
numerous successful outcomes, including prosocial
behaviour, better immunological functioning,
greater resilience and recovery from stress, as well
as more flexible thinking and creativity (e.g.,
Tugade, Fredrickson, & Barrett, 2004). Most
relevant to the current study, positive emotion is
found to be a crucial factor in predicting the
successful formation of new relationships (Waugh
& Fredrickson, 2006).
In the long-term, perceived responsiveness dur-
ing an initial interaction could make two strangers
more likely to become friends. Perceived respon-
siveness has been linked with interaction-related
positive emotion that outlasts the interaction itself
(Langston, 1994) and increases in closeness and
intimacy in existing social relationships (Gable
et al., 2006). Moreover, responsiveness from others
signals the availability of social support when
negative events arise in the future (Gable, Gosnell,
Maisel, & Strachman, 2012), potentially increasing
desire to pursue a relationship.
There is evidence to suggest a more positive
social interaction (e.g., one that is characterised by
perceived responsiveness) might lead to an endur-
ing positive memory bias after the event. A long
line of research shows that affect associated with
positive experiences takes a longer time to fade
than affect associated with negative experiences
(see Walker, Skowronski, & Thompson, 2003 for
a review). Relatedly, a positive interaction might
be seen as a reflection of an individuals ability to
have a successful interaction, while a negative
interaction might be seen as a failure. Much
research suggests that individuals are more likely
to recall information about their successes than
their failures (see Miller & Ross, 1975 for a review).
Finally, positive affect during an experience leads
individuals to recall more positive information
about that experience (Natale & Hantas, 1982).
Thus, individuals who experience positive affect
during an initial social encounter as a result of
perceiving responsiveness might be more likely to
remember more positive aspects of the event.
Conversation among strangers can generally be
divided into two categories: small talk and self-
disclosure. Although it is still possible to engage in
self-disclosure in an initial interaction with stran-
gers, less intimate small talk might be a more
common mode of communication. To date, most
experimental studies on perceived responsiveness
focus on self-disclosure. This makes intuitive
sense, as these studies tend to involve pre-existing
(usually romantic) relationships. In contrast, the
present study was concerned with unacquainted
strangers, between whom small talkmight be
more common. Responsiveness to casual conver-
sation can, nonetheless, signal interest and
engagement. Furthermore, strangers engaging in
small talk may be more sensitive to the respon-
siveness of their conversation partner than estab-
lished friends. For these reasons, we divided
participants into two groups, a small talkcondi-
tion and a self-disclosurecondition. Although
the small talk condition may better typify a
conversation between two strangers, strangers
and new friends can still become involved with
more serious conversation topics. A conversation
partner who responds appropriately to emotionally
sensitive subjects may appear more desirable for
someone considering friendship. Thus, we
expected to see beneficial effects of perceived
responsiveness in both conversation categories
(self-disclosure and small talk). We hypothesised
that, controlling for the emotional intensity of the
initial interaction, greater perceived responsiveness
during the interaction would positively bias the
PERCEIVED RESPONSIVENESS DURING INITIAL INTERACTIONS
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014 3
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memory of the interaction when recalled one week
later, resulting in greater recalled enjoyment and
positive emotionality.
METHOD
Participants
Participants were 106 (53 female) undergraduates
from George Mason University, a large, suburban
university. Participants were drawn from the
Psychology Department participant pool and
received course credit for their participation. To
reduce the probability that participants pursued
romantic relationships when meeting strangers in
the social interaction experiment, we recruited
participants in stable, monogamous romantic
relationships. Participants were aged 1849 (M=
22.1, SD = 5.79) and were of diverse ethnic make-
up: Caucasian (53.8%), Asian-American (21.7%),
African-American (9.4%), Middle-Eastern (4.7%),
Hispanic (4.7%) and other categories (4.7%). The
current data are from a larger study; the only
existing publication addressed different research
questions and variables (see Study 3 from Kashdan,
McKnight, Fincham, & Rose, 2011).
Procedure
After participants provided informed consent, they
were paired together to form opposite-sex dyads.
We asked all participants if they knew anyone else
in the study session and only assigned dyads of
unacquainted strangers. We used mixed gender
dyads because females interacting are found to lead
to greater comfort than malemale or mixed dyads
(Reis, Senchak, & Solomon, 1985). We wanted to
use participants that would maximise the range of
emotion and responses to self-disclosure experi-
enced. In lieu of collecting data from three
conditions (i.e., malemale, femalefemale and
mixed dyads), as this would be highly resource
intensive, we used mixed-gender dyads because
they allowed the widest range of emotion and
responses to self-disclosure. Each experimental
session involved 816 participants (48 dyads).
Multiple dyads were in each session to mimic real-
world meetings between strangers (e.g., at a bar,
party). Dyads were formed ensuring that each
member of the pair had not met previously to
resemble a meeting between strangers. We took
measures to avoid dyads overhearing and mimick-
ing each others conversations including: (1) pla-
cing participants in the room so that no two dyads
were parallel or next to each other, (2) ensuring
enough people were in the room to produce
sufficient sound to make it difficult to overhear
any single conversation and (3) including at least
two empty desks, in every direction, between
each dyad.
Participants engaged in a well-established para-
digm for mirroring social interactions (Aron,
Melinat, Aron, Vallone, & Bator, 1997). In this
paradigm, all dyads were then given three sets of
notecards containing conversation topics and were
told that the goal of the interaction was for each
partner to get close with the other. Participants
were asked to take turns reading prompts and
spend 15 minutes on each of the three rounds of
notecards, with the reader answering the prompt
after hearing the response of the listener. Thus,
each of the participants in all dyads took turns
answering the same questions for a total of 45
minutes. While the instructions for all dyads were
the same, there were two sets of notecards that
varied by condition. One condition was meant to
create closeness, while the other was meant to
mirror a typical small talk interaction. We had two
separate conditions to examine whether the effects
of perceived responsiveness were independent of
the content of the conversation and feelings of
interpersonal closeness established.
Prior studies of this paradigm support its
ecological validity in approximating real-life inter-
actions in terms of producing temporary closeness
similar to real-world close relationships, influen-
cing hormonal levels in participants as if they were
in a real interaction, and creating long-lasting
relationships. In the short term, Aron et al.,
(1997) report that this participants in the para-
digm reported interpersonal closeness scores on
the Inclusion of Others in Self (IOS) similar to
those produced by individuals rating their closest
pre-existing relationship (Aron, Aron, & Smollan,
KLEIMAN ET AL.
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1992). The paradigm produces short-term
changes in cortisol similar to those seen when
participants receive social support from a friend
(Smith, Loving, Crockett, & Campbell, 2009).
The paradigm also produces increases in proges-
terone, a hormone associated with social affiliation
in females, lasting up to one week after the
interaction, (Brown et al., 2009). Finally, two
studies document formation of friendships after
engaging in this paradigm. For participants in the
closeness condition, 57% of them chose to have
another conversation with their partner (who was a
stranger before) and 35% of participants did
something with their partner outside of class
(Aron et al., 1997). When couples engage in the
closeness condition of the paradigm with other
couples, they feel closer to these couples (and to
their partner) than couples who participate in the
small talk condition (Slatcher, 2010). There is also
some support that this paradigm is similar to some
aspects of spontaneous disclosure. For example, the
closeness condition produces behavioural syn-
chrony (i.e., the coordination of movement in a
social interaction), which is a behavioural phenom-
enon that occurs in real-life spontaneous disclosure
(Vacharkulksemsuk & Fredrickson, 2012).
Closeness condition
The closeness condition was designed by Aron
et al. (1997) to evoke feelings of closeness, with
each of the notecards containing prompts to
increase intimacy by using self-disclosure. Three
rounds of notecards were used, with each set
increasing the intensity of self-disclosure. Increas-
ing the intensity of self-disclosure is standard
practice for administering this paradigm, as begin-
ning at the highest intensity of self-disclosure
might be seen as awkward for the participants.
The first round of notecards contained prompts
such as For what in your life do you feel most
grateful?and If you could wake up tomorrow
having gained any one quality of ability, what
would it be?The second round contained
prompts such as Is there something you've
dreamed of doing for a long time? Why havent
you done it?and What is the greatest
accomplishment of your life?Finally, the third
round contained prompts such as If you were
going to become a close friend with your partner,
please share what would be important for him or
her to know, and Your house, containing every-
thing you own, catches fire. After saving your
loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make
a final dash to save any one item. What would it
be? Why?
Small talk condition
The small talk condition was designed by Aron
et al. (1997) to create an innocuous, mundane
conversation. The three rounds of conversation
topics involved similar levels of disclosure, with
prompts such as How did you celebrate last
Halloween?and What is the best TV show
youve seen in the past month that your partner
hasnt seen? Tell your partner about it.
After speaking to each other for 45 minutes,
dyads separated, and all participants completed
post-interaction questionnaires. One week later,
participants returned and completed another set of
questionnaires about the interaction.
Social interaction measures
Perceived responsiveness
Participants completed a two-item measure of
perceived responsiveness immediately following
the interaction (a variant of Gable et al., 2004,
Study 1). This measure assessed the degree to
which individuals perceived their interaction part-
ner as being interested and engaged in the conver-
sation (e.g., He/she was responsive to things that I
cared about, and He/she was genuinely interested
in things about me.). Responses were recorded
using a 9-point Likert scale from 1 (not at all) to 5
(moderately) to 9 (completely). All reliability data
are reported in Table 1 below.
Interaction enjoyment
At the conclusion of the task and one week
later, participants completed a four-item measure
designed to assess general positive feelings regard-
ing the interaction (e.g., I enjoyed the interaction,
PERCEIVED RESPONSIVENESS DURING INITIAL INTERACTIONS
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014 5
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I felt energized by the interaction). Responses
were recorded using a 7-point Likert scale from 1
(not at all) to 4 (moderately) to 7 (very much). This
survey was designed for this study; the factor
structure and reliability estimates of the items can
be found in the Results section.
Positive and negative emotions
Positive and negative emotions were assessed fol-
lowing the interaction, and one week later using the
state version of the Positive and Negative Affect
Schedule (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen,
1988). Responses ranged from 1 very slightly or
not at all,3moderately,to5extremely.
RESULTS
Means, standard deviations, intercorrelations and
reliability statistics are displayed in Table 1. Nearly
all variables were correlated in the expected direction
(|rs| ranged from .20 to .69). We found non-
significant associations between negative emotions
and both perceived responsiveness and interaction
enjoyment, fitting with prior work on the relative
independence of approach-oriented and avoidance-
oriented emotions, motivation and relationship
processes (Carver, 2006). All variables had accept-
able internal consistency (αs ranged from .80 to .88).
For primary analyses, the data were analysed
using hierarchical linear modelling (Raudenbush,
Bryk, & Congdon, 2004; Version 6), with indivi-
duals nested within dyads. To examine the
immediate effects of perceived responsiveness, we
tested the concurrent association with post-inter-
action enjoyment and positive and negative emo-
tions (Model 1). To test the longitudinal effects of
perceived responsiveness, we predicted how parti-
cipants remembered the interaction one week later
(enjoyment, positive and negative emotion), con-
trolling for how participants described the inter-
action immediately afterwards (Model 2). We also
included conversation condition (closeness vs.
small talk) as a possible moderator of perceived
responsiveness effects.
Model 1: Concurrent association
Level 1:
Interaction outcomes T1ij ¼b0j
þb1jðperceived responsiveness T1ij Þ
Level 2:
b0j¼c00 þc01ðconditionjÞ
b1j¼c10 þc11ðconditionjÞ
b2j¼c20 þc21ðconditionjÞ
Table 1. Intercorrelations, means, standard deviations and reliability statistics for the study variables
1234567
1. Post-interaction perceived capitalisation
2. Post-interaction enjoyment .44***
3. Post-interaction positive emotions (PANAS) .36*** .65***
4. Post-interaction negative emotions (PANAS) .11 .15 .32***
5. Follow-up enjoyment .60*** .61*** .48*** .28**
6. Follow-up positive emotions (PANAS) .39*** .39*** .69*** .26** .49***
7. Follow-up negative emotions (PANAS) .05 .17 .32*** .55*** .20*.26**
Mean 6.92 5.49 3.61 1.45 4.89 3.24 1.50
Standard deviation 1.66 1.12 0.61 0.46 1.23 0.66 0.57
Alpha .86 .80 .81 .82 .82 .86 .88
PANAS, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule.
***p<.001, **p<.01, *p<.05.
KLEIMAN ET AL.
6COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
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Model 2: Longitudinal change
Level 1:
Interaction outcomes T2ij
¼b0jþb1jðinteraction outcomes T1Þþb2j
ðperceived responsiveness T1ij Þ
Level 2:
b0j¼c00 þc01ðconditionjÞ
b1j¼c10 þc11ðconditionjÞ
b2j¼c20 þc21ðconditionjÞ
These analyses yielded two main findings, which
are summarised in Table 2. People who perceived
their partners to be more responsive enjoyed the
interaction more, B= .28, t(51) = 3.77, p<.001,
and experienced a greater increase in how much
they remembered enjoying the interaction one
week later, B= .32, t(49) = 4.15, p<.001.
Similarly, participants who perceived their partners
to be more responsive reported greater positive
emotions immediately after the interaction, B=
.10, t(51) = 3.09, p= .003, as well as a greater
increase in how much positive emotion they
remembered experiencing one week later, B=
.08, t(49) = 3.18, p= .003. No effect was found for
perceived responsiveness on negative emotions
immediately after the interaction, B= .02, t(51)
= .532, p= .597, or one week later, B= .03, t(49) =
1.21, p= .234.
Condition did not moderate any of the prior
effects, |Bs| <.01, |ts(49)| <.158, ps>.875, nor
did it have any direct associations with ratings
of interaction enjoyment, positive emotion or
negative emotion, |Bs| <.03, |ts(52) |<.732,
ps>.467. However, condition did have an effect
on the stability of interaction enjoyment and
Table 2. Results of hierarchal linear modelling predicting positive affect, negative affect and enjoyment as a function of
capitalisation support
Positive affect Negative affect Enjoyment
Outcomes B (SE) t p value B (SE) t p value B (SE) t p value
Immediately after
Intercept 3.03 (.04) 74.33 <.001 2.06 (.05) 41.31 <.001 5.52 (.09) 63.72 <.001
Person-level
Capitalisation .10 (.03) 3.09 .003 .02 (.04) 0.53 .597 .28 (.07) 3.77 <.001
Group-level
Condition .05 (.04) 1.16 .251 .12 (.05) 2.43 .018 .08 (.09) 0.95 .349
Cross-level interaction
Condition
× Cap.
.0004 (.03) .01 .990 .03 (.04) 0.86 .394 .10 (.07) 1.40 .169
One weeklater
Intercept 2.77 (.04) 76.15 <.001 1.99 (.03) 57.37 <.001 4.85 (.08) 61.75 <.001
Person-level
Capitalisation .08 (.03) 3.18 .003 .03 (.03) 1.21 .234 .32 (.08) 4.15 <.001
Immediately
post-int.
.54 (.09) 6.33 <.001 .30 (.09) 3.22 .002 .57 (.10) 5.73 <.001
Group-level
Condition .03 (.04) 0.73 .467 .02 (.03) 0.49 .624 .04 (.08) .524 .603
Cross-level interaction
Condition
× Cap.
.003 (.03) 0.13 .896 .002 (.03) .075 .941 .01 (.08) 0.16 .875
Condition
× Imm.
.23 (.09) 2.70 .010 .28 (.09) 2.945 .005 .26 (.10) 2.67 .010
Note: Capitalisation/Cap = post-interaction perceived capitalisation, Immediately post-int./Imm. = ratings of positive affect, negative affect
and enjoyment immediately post-interaction.
PERCEIVED RESPONSIVENESS DURING INITIAL INTERACTIONS
COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014 7
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positive and negative emotions over the course of
the following week. Specifically, during the one
week aftermath, participants in the closeness
condition remembered their interaction as being
more enjoyable, B= .26, t(49) = 2.67, p= .010,
evoking more positive emotion, B= .23, t(49) =
2.70, p= .010, and less negative emotion, B=
.27, t(49) = 2.95, p= .005, compared to
participants in the small talk condition.
DISCUSSION
Although research has shown the short- and long-
term beneficial effects of perceived responsiveness
for people who are already acquainted, and the
short-term benefits of perceived responsiveness
among strangers, there has been no research on
the potential long-lasting benefits of perceived
responsiveness among unacquainted strangers.
Our results indicated that when participants
perceived that their conversation partners reacted
enthusiastically to self-disclosures (i.e., perceived
responsiveness), they experienced greater enjoy-
ment and more positive emotion during the
interaction. Conversing with a responsive partner
also provided benefits that outlasted the duration
of the interaction itself. One week after the initial
interaction, participants who perceived greater
positive responsiveness from their partner remem-
bered experiencing greater enjoyment and positive
emotions, even after controlling for the enjoyment
and positive emotion reported immediately after
the interaction. Thus, by perceiving responsive-
ness, participantspositive memories of the inter-
action increased over time.
It is important to note that perceived respon-
siveness occurred independently of conversation
topic. That is, both participants engaging in small
talk and those discussing more intimate topics
benefited from a responsive conversation partner.
This lends additional support to the premise that
unacquainted strangers can benefit from similar
relationship-strengthening strategies as individuals
in established friendships or romantic relation-
ships. Additionally, the equivalent effects for
responsiveness across conversation topic shows
that perceived responsiveness facilitates the forma-
tion of positive memories even during mundane
conversations. This is important because most first
interactions between strangers do not involve the
gradual sharing of intimate details about each
others lives. Thus, first impressions that only
involve small talk can, nonetheless, create lasting
positive emotions when perceived responsiveness
is present.
Our results are consistent with previous literature
on romantic relationships that found perceived
responsiveness to be associated with emotional
well-being and relationship satisfaction (Gable
et al., 2004). Our results suggest that positive
responses to self-disclosure may not only strengthen
existing romantic and platonic relationships but
could be important for the development of new
friendships. Perceived responsiveness during an
initial interaction might provide an immediate
incentive to continue the interaction, as well as a
signal that the conversation partner might be a
reliable source of future emotional support (and
thus, worthy of emotional investment). By boosting
positive interaction-related memories, perceived
responsiveness might increase the likelihood of
subsequent interactions and friendship formation.
There are several limitations to the present
study that should be acknowledged. First, it is
possible that individuals who tend to see others
positively have a general bias towards positivity
and thus experience more positive emotion and
remember their interactions more fondly. Thus,
future research is needed to disentangle percep-
tions of responsiveness from a general bias towards
positivity. Second, we used an undergraduate
college sample. Future studies are needed to
determine the generalisability of our findings to
community samples across the lifespan. Third, we
did not use a standard measure of perceived
responsiveness such as the Perceived Responses
to Capitalisation Attempts Scale (PRCA; Gable
et al., 2004, Study 2), which has been adapted for
use with strangers (Reis et al., 2011). Future
studies should replicate our findings using the
PCRA. It should be noted, however, that other
studies of perceived responsiveness (e.g., Kashdan
et al., 2013) used measures similar to the current
KLEIMAN ET AL.
8COGNITION AND EMOTION, 2014
Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 09:31 22 April 2014
study with results comparable to the existing
literature.
Our results suggest that perceived responsiveness
has important benefits for social interactions that
occur outside the confines of established relation-
ships (e.g., romance, family and friendships). By
increasing interaction enjoyment and positive emo-
tion, perceived responsiveness in initial interactions
might increase the likelihood of forming lasting and
supportive friendships. These data extend prior work
on the robust benefits of perceived responsiveness
across various social contexts.
Manuscript received 9 June 2013
Revised manuscript received 26 February 2014
Manuscript accepted 13 March 2014
First published online 10 April 2014
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By means of a hypnotic mood-induction procedure, 54 undergraduates were made to experience a happy, sad, or neutral state. Temporary depression caused decreased recall of positive life experiences, weaker memory strength for positive information about oneself, and a bias to recall false negative self-descriptions. Induced elation was associated with decreased recall of negative events and an increased recall of positive events. Results support A. T. Beck's (1967, 1976) notion that mood states are associated with distorted information processing about the self. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Two studies, with 58 female and 49 male undergraduates, evaluated potential explanations of the finding that males' same-sex interaction is less intimate than that of females. These explanations concerned differing criteria for intimacy, labeling differences, selectivity in the occasions or partners for intimacy, the question of capability vs preference, and gender-cued stereotypic judgments. In a replication of the essential datum, diarylike reports of naturalistic interaction indicated that males' same-sex interaction was substantially less intimate than that of females. Subsequently, Ss were asked to judge standard stimuli and to have an intimate conversation in a laboratory setting. Analyses revealed that the sex difference could not be attributed to differing criteria, labeling, selectivity, or gender-cued judgments. Further analyses indicated that preference played more of a role in the sex difference than did capability, because situational manipulations eliminated the sex difference. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)