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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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Cognition & Emotion
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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
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can be found at
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
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:
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
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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
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
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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
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memory of the interaction when recalled one week
later, resulting in greater recalled enjoyment and
positive emotionality.
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).
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,
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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,
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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.
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
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.
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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
Capitalisation .10 (.03) 3.09 .003 .02 (.04) 0.53 .597 .28 (.07) 3.77 <.001
Condition .05 (.04) 1.16 .251 .12 (.05) 2.43 .018 .08 (.09) 0.95 .349
Cross-level interaction
× 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
Capitalisation .08 (.03) 3.18 .003 .03 (.03) 1.21 .234 .32 (.08) 4.15 <.001
.54 (.09) 6.33 <.001 .30 (.09) 3.22 .002 .57 (.10) 5.73 <.001
Condition .03 (.04) 0.73 .467 .02 (.03) 0.49 .624 .04 (.08) .524 .603
Cross-level interaction
× Cap.
.003 (.03) 0.13 .896 .002 (.03) .075 .941 .01 (.08) 0.16 .875
× 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.
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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.
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
Downloaded by [George Mason University] at 09:31 22 April 2014
study with results comparable to the existing
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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... One specific behavior that has garnered attention in this regard is capitalization, or the act of sharing the good news with others (Langston, 1994). This behavior, which involves communicating about a positive personal event and gaining additional benefits as a result, has been linked to increased joy and happiness, even beyond the initial impact of the event itself (Gable et al., 2004;Gable & Impett, 2012;Ilies et al., 2011Ilies et al., , 2013Kleiman et al., 2015;Langston, 1994;Lambert et al., 2011). Although previous studies mostly focused on understanding the capitalization attempts in romantic relationships, recent research by Derlega et al. (2011) indicated that individuals often share their experiences, particularly with their same-sex friends, as they are perceived as more stable, close, and helpful than romantic partners and more similar than other family members. ...
Full-text available
Although uniqueness has various definitions in the literature, the personal sense of uniqueness, defined as the perception of unconditional self-worth, contributes positively to mental health. Research has found that perceived responses to capitalization attempts and the sense of uniqueness are negatively associated with depression and positively associated with happiness. Our study was conducted with an emerging adult sample from various ethnicities (N = 557) and investigated the sense of uniqueness as the mediator of perceived responses to capitalization attempts in friendships and mental health. The models demonstrated that the correlations between perceived responses to capitalization attempts and both happiness and depression were mediated by the sense of uniqueness. The results were discussed by considering the role of uniqueness in the capitalization process. Also, suggestions for future research were provided.
... Significant increases in liking after using adaptions of the FFP were found in multiple studies (Kuang, 2012;Sprecher, 2014;Sprecher & Hampton, 2017;Sprecher et al., 2013aSprecher et al., , 2013bStürmer et al., 2018). Furthermore, various studies using shortened versions of the FFP evinced an increase in positive affect (Kleiman et al., 2014;Shearer, 2017;Taylor et al., 2017;Vacharkulksemsuk & Fredrickson, 2011). Although there are some studies in non-English-speaking countries (e.g., Stürmer et al., 2018), the FFP has never been validated in any other language apart from English. ...
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The Fast Friends Procedure (FFP) is a widely used experimental paradigm to induce emotional intimacy. Besides exploring the validity of a German translation of the paradigm (n = 46), we developed an extension of the FFP that induces sexual intimacy and assessed heart rate, high-frequency heart rate variability, and electrodermal activity responses to the FFP and its extension. Furthermore, we examined its applicability to individuals with childhood maltreatment (n = 56), who frequently suffer from intimacy-related difficulties. Intimacy, positive affect, liking, and attraction increased during the FFP and partly during the sexual intimacy extension in both study groups. Moreover, both groups showed physiological responses consistent with positive social interactions. The use of the German FFP and its sexual intimacy extension can thus be recommended for research in the general population and in individuals with childhood maltreatment, although more studies are needed to further validate the paradigms.
... These benefits can translate into the future as well, with perceived responsiveness increasing positive ratings of strangers a week later (Kleiman, Kashdan, Monfort, Machell, & Goodman, 2015), and predicting cortisol levels of marital partners 10 years down the line (Slatcher, Selcuk, & Ong, 2015). In fact, research strongly suggests that actual emotional support only matters insofar as it is perceived (Lippert & Prager, 2001;Reis, 2014;Reis et al, 2004;Selcuk & Ong, 2013). ...
In two lines of work, I explore the effects of using compassionate language. In the first line, I examine how social support that is not backed by sincere emotion is perceived, and whether it can be effective for making people feel better. In a between-subjects online study (N = 200) and a lab study with dyads of strangers (N = 144), I show that provider sincerity is less important for effective support than support recipients believe. Since recipients' accuracy is limited and biased with regard to sincerity, being supportive without emotional motivation could in cases be just as effective as the 'real' thing. The second line of work asks whether self-distancing promotes self-compassion. In four online experiments (Ns = 209, 411, 224, 567) where subjects write about a problem for which they blame themselves, those who wrote from a distanced perspective consistently used more compassionate language to discuss it than those who wrote from an immersed perspective. There was evidence that this kind of compassionate language was associated with feeling more self-compassion. Basic science and clinical implications of both lines of work are discussed.
... Additional work has found that interpersonal capitalization is effective in producing increases in subjective and physiological indicators of positive affect even when conducted via digital modalities, such as text message (Monfort et al., 2014). Moreover, active-constructive capitalization experiences are related to increased relationship satisfaction, intimacy, and trust among romantic partners (e.g., Fivecoat et al., 2015;Reis et al., 2010), and positive relational effects of activeconstructive capitalization experiences, even those occurring among relative strangers, persist as long as one week later (Kleiman et al., 2015). Such active-constructive capitalization experiences may also increase the likelihood of future capitalization attempts, reinforcing the quality of the relationship and contributing to interpersonal wellbeing (Peters et al., 2018). ...
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Positive affect and positive parent-adolescent relationships have been found to reinforce one another across youth development in a pattern of an “upward spiral,” yet little is known regarding processes facilitating such “upward spirals” of social and emotional wellbeing among parent-adolescent dyads. This study addressed this gap by examining interpersonal capitalization, or the process of sharing positive news with others, as one candidate interpersonal process contributing to increases in both parent and adolescent experiences of positive affect in naturalistic settings. Participants included 146 adolescents (52.1% girls; ages 10–14; M[SD] = 12.71[0.86]) and a participating caregiver (N = 139; 78.7% mothers; ages 33–58; M[SD] = 44.11[5.08]) who completed a dyadic experience sampling method procedure assessing both parent and adolescent momentary affect and patterns of engagement in interpersonal capitalization in daily life settings (31 surveys across 9 days). Multilevel models indicated that adolescent positive affect increased following instances of interpersonal capitalization, and increases in positive affect were specific to high-arousal positive emotions (e.g., excited, energetic) relative to low-arousal positive emotions (e.g., calm, relaxed). Parental high-arousal positive affect also increased following instances in which they provided validating, enthusiastic responses to their children’s capitalization attempts. The results of the present study indicate that interpersonal capitalization may be one mechanism facilitating “upward spirals” of positive affect for both parents and adolescents, with implications for health and wellbeing across development.
... Responsiveness represents the extent to which an interaction partner's communication is perceived as validating, caring, and understanding. Responsiveness is relevant to all types of communication episodes and situations and is argued to be a (if not the) core feature of appraised positivity in everyday interaction (Kleiman et al., 2015;Reis, 2012). ...
Analysis of over 2,000 moments of social interaction collected through smartphone-based experience sampling showed that, over a week-long period, people who have experienced negative relations with others (relative to those who have not), interacted with individuals from less-established relationships, perceived less partner responsiveness during interactions (particularly from their established relationship partners), and were more likely to report being alone than engaged in positive communication episodes. People with high negative relations with others also tended to have lower perceptions of affective well-being and relational connection, and greater perceptions of stress-related cognition, during moments of social interaction. Yet, results also indicated that while positive communication appears harder to come by for people with high negative relations with others, these individuals gain outsized benefits from positive interaction when it occurs (e.g., sharper increases in well-being and decreases in stress). This suggests that heightened negative relations with others might lead people to “hyperabsorb” the benefits of positive moments of communication. The results have implications for key perspectives on communication, relational life, and well-being (i.e., affection deprivation, appraisal, implicit vigilance, and resource insufficiency) and suggest potential routes for intervention development for people with difficult relational lives.
... Indeed, a recent study showed that dyadic rapport is derived from increased coordinated expressivity and promotes a better mood (Nelson, Grahe, & Ramseyer, 2016). Moreover, research on the interaction between adult strangers has shown that synchrony (LaFrance, 1979;Vacharkulksemsuk & Fredrickson, 2012) and responsive positive reactions of one interacting agent create a sense of rapport and reliability in the other (Kleiman, Kashdan, Monfort, Machell, & Goodman, 2015). Tickle-Degnen and Rosenthal's observable rapport components serve both as behaviors that may induce rapport and as perceivable cues that the dyadic partners and their surroundings can use to understand the nature of the relationship formed. ...
There is a growing interest in the effects of social engagement on cognition, yet, research on the effects of social engagement with the experimenter in empirical contexts has been sparse. During an experiment, the experimenter and participant form a dyad, establishing a certain level of rapport-a sense of a positive and congruent relationship. This rapport is thought to promote performance by providing a comfortable testing environment, thereby reducing resource demand, and enhancing participant engagement and willingness to exert effort to perform. The current study sought to better understand the role of rapport by examining the effects of perceived rapport on effortful control, that is, inhibition and shifting, in an experimental setting among children with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Forty-nine children (9 to 12 years old) were divided into two groups based on ADHD classification (i.e., typically developing children, n = 27; children with ADHD, n = 22). Participants completed the day/night Stroop task and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task following a short rapport-building conversation with the experimenter. Later, both participant and experimenter filled the CHARM questionnaire reporting the rapport constructed during the experiment. Results show moderating effects of ADHD on the relationship between perceived rapport quality and congruency, and participant's executive functions performance. Specifically, children with ADHD showed higher susceptibility to rapport quality and were impervious to the effects of rapport congruency. Results highlight the importance of rapport with the experimenter in experimental research and suggest incorporating considerations concerning rapport, both in designing the experimental paradigm as well as an independent factor affecting task performance and outcome. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
How do people determine whether a conversation is good or bad? Do conversational phenomena (reaching common ground, striving to contribute equally, successful conversational closings) influence judgments of conversation quality and recall of conversations? We tested whether individuals reading previously transcribed conversations considered psycholinguistic characteristics in their assessments of whether the conversations were good or bad. Additionally, we tested whether these assessments influenced how the conversations were remembered. Well-formed interactions (balanced, grounded, or with well-structured closings) were rated as better than ill-formed counterparts (not balanced, not well grounded, or with poorly structured closings). When recalling the best interaction they saw, participants chose a well-formed conversation about 80% of the time. When recalling the worst interaction they saw, they chose an ill-formed conversation about 90% of the time. Balance information was important to both judgments. Participants recognized well-balanced conversations more accurately and were also faster to recognize well-balanced conversations. In contrast, participants recognized ill-formed grounding better, although it took more time to do so. Well-formed and ill-formed closings were recognized to a similar degree, but improperly structured closings were recognized more quickly. These findings support the hypothesis that common ground, contribution balance, and conversational closings influence both perception of conversational quality and memory for previously transcribed conversations.
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Individuals can be intimate with each other through a variety of mechanisms, but one of these key factors is Perceived Partner Responsiveness (PPR). Because there was no rich literature review on this construct in the country, the purpose of this study was to bring in the concept of perceived partner responsiveness, its elements, how this structure works, significant effects of this structure on different areas of individual's life and the positive consequences of its existence in relationships and the negative consequences of its absence in human interactions. This study was a systematic review of most of the scientific sources related to this structure in scientific databases. Related sources were downloaded from Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, Sage, Wiley, Springer, Taylor and Francis, and the social-scientific ResearchGate database from 1992 to 2022 and those sources that met the research criteria (sources that included the counteractive role of perceived partner responsiveness and also included the keywords of PPR and intimacy) were included in the study (57 studies) and unrelated sources (84 studies) were excluded (141 studies in total). Findings of various studies indicate that the perceived partner responsiveness by neutralizing negative consequences and increasing positive emotions, affections, and constructive attitudes toward each other in interactions has always been the most important predictor of intimacy and satisfaction in relationships. Consequently, PPR will develop the happiness and well-being of individuals.
Environment-leader congruency yields better adaptability manifested in better decision-making. The military combat environment offers advantages for leaders with ADHD; though they are expected to encounter difficulties due to executive dysfunction. This research aspired to increase the congruency effect for leaders with ADHD in a stressful military environment through interventions that improve executive decisions. We hypothesized that making decisions in isolation will improve decision quality overall; while face-to-face interventions that activate commitment and focused attention will promote decision-making particularly among respondents with ADHD. A large-scale controlled study explored candidates’ responses to combat dilemmas under four randomly assigned interventions: Isolation, Simple face-to-face, Withholding response face-to-face; and Control-peer-group classroom setting. The main effects of improved decision-making in isolation and simple face-to-face settings were shown across groups. Further, both face-to-face interventions interacted with ADHD, yielding stronger effects and better performance among participants with ADHD as compared to those without ADHD. Current findings highlight the importance of finding suitable conditions for enabling improved executive decisions among candidates with ADHD. Introducing economical and easy-to-operate face-to-face interventions enhances decision quality in a highly represented neurodiverse population. Current findings may generalize to an array of high-risk/high-stress working environments, providing ecologically relevant support for young leaders from neurodiverse populations.
Product review length has been demonstrated as one of the key factors that influence the product review helpfulness. However, we have little knowledge of a deeper understanding on how consumers process the product review length to assess product review helpfulness. Anchoring on the human’s affective-cognitive model of decision-making and the prominent coping approaches, this research revisits this key issue from consumers’ affect-oriented and cognition-oriented processing perspective. Our findings show that (1) consumers apply both the affect-oriented and cognition-oriented processing to assess the helpfulness of product review, (2) a significant inverted U-shape relationship between the review length and the review helpfulness, and interestingly, (3) such a relationship is further moderated by whether the product review author has provided a response to consumers’ comments. These findings not only provide further robust evidence to the consideration of both product review length and feedback, but also suggest a refinement of the underlying mechanism on how consumers process product review length to assess product review helpfulness.
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Extending prior work on social anxiety and positivity deficits, we examined whether individual differences in social anxiety alter the ability to share and respond to the good news of romantic partners (i.e., capitalization support) and how this influences romantic relationship satisfaction and commitment. In this study of 174 heterosexual couples (average age of 21.5 with 58.3% identifying as Caucasian), greater social anxiety was associated with the provision and receipt of less supportive responses to shared positive events as measured by trait questionnaires, partner reports, and behavioral observations in the laboratory. In longitudinal analyses, individuals in romantic relationships with socially anxious partners who experienced inadequate capitalization support were more likely to terminate their relationship and report a decline in relationship quality six months later. As evidence of construct specificity, social anxiety effects were independent of depressive symptoms. Taken together, social anxiety influenced a person's ability to receive and provide support for shared positive events; these deficits had adverse romantic consequences. Researchers and clinicians may better understand social anxiety by exploring a wider range of interpersonal contexts and positive constructs. The addition of capitalization support to the social anxiety literature offers new insights into interpersonal approaches and treatments.
Full-text available
We examine the processes involved in the development of interracial friendships. Using Reis and Shaver’s intimacy model, we explore the extent to which disclosure and perceived partner responsiveness influence intimacy levels in developing interracial and intraracial friendships. White and ethnic minority participants completed diary measures of self and partner disclosure and partner responsiveness every two weeks for 10 weeks about an in-group and an out-group person whom they thought they would befriend over time. The results revealed that perceived partner responsiveness mediated the relationships between both self and partner disclosure and intimacy in interracial and intraracial relationships. The implications of these results for intergroup relations are discussed.
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This study investigated how friendships between couples form and implications for within-couple process. Sixty couples were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions where they engaged in a 45-min interaction with another couple. In 1 condition, couples carried out self-disclosure tasks; in the other, couples engaged in nonemotional small talk. Compared to the small-talk condition, those in the high-disclosure condition felt closer to the couples they interacted with and were more likely to meet up with them again during the following month. Further, couples in the high-disclosure condition felt closer to their own partners. Actor–partner interdependence model analyses showed these effects to be mediated by increases in positive affect. Implications for studying the interplay of social networks and romantic relationships are discussed.
Discussing good news builds strength in relationships. In particular, perceiving a close other as enthusiastic about good fortune can help individuals maintain relational strength when relationship security is threatened. In an experiment and a daily diary study, how self‐esteem moderates perceptions of a partner's response to these capitalization attempts following relationship threats were examined. After having been primed with relationship threat (Study 1) or on days following relationship conflict (Study 2), low‐self‐esteem persons perceived less partner enthusiasm about their good news, but high‐self‐esteem persons perceived more partner enthusiasm. Self‐esteem had no effect after a neutral prime or no‐conflict days. These results indicate that capitalization as a strategy for repairing relationships may depend on the partners' self‐esteem.
Good things happen. In fact, positive events occur more often than negative events. In this chapter, we review research showing that people often turn to others to share their good news, a process called capitalization. These studies show that both the act of telling others about good events and the response of the person with whom the event was shared have personal and interpersonal consequences. We outline a theoretical foundation and propose a model of capitalization processes that includes mechanisms linking the act of telling others and their response to personal and interpersonal outcomes. This research has shown that when the close other responds in an active and constructive manner (and not in a passive or destructive manner), both the discloser and the relationship between the discloser and the responder profit. Personal benefits linked to capitalization processes include increased positive emotions, subjective well-being, and self-esteem, and decreased loneliness. Relationship benefits associated with capitalization processes include satisfaction, intimacy, commitment, trust, liking, closeness, and stability. We also review evidence for mechanisms involved in capitalization processes. Throughout this chapter, we discuss capitalization processes in the larger context of how people “cope” during good times and the value of having supportive partners in this process. Although research has consistently emphasized coping with negative events, our work suggests that positive events similarly provide both opportunities and challenges.
A practical methodology is presented for creating closeness in an experimental context. Whether or not an individual is in a relationship, particular pairings of individuals in the relationship, and circumstances of relationship development become manipulated variables. Over a 45-min period subject pairs carry out self-disclosure and relationship-building tasks that gradually escalate in intensity. Study 1 found greater postinteraction closeness with these tasks versus comparable small-talk tasks. Studies 2 and 3 found no significant closeness effects, inspite of adequate power, for (a) whether pairs were matched for nondisagreement on important attitudes, (b) whether pairs were led to expect mutual liking, or (c) whether getting close was made an explicit goal. These studies also illustrated applications for addressing theoretical issues, yielding provocative tentative findings relating to attachment style and introversion/extraversion.
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
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)
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)