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Contradiction of expectations based on specific and diffuse information Frances, M. Reimer

Abstract

Previous research concerned with self-other expectations has suggested that an individual's expectations can be based on two types of information. In a task-oriented group, information about prior performance behavior can lead to self-other expectations as can information regarding status differences. Within the conditions of the theory, these information types are defined as specific and diffuse characteristics respectively. It has been demonstrated that when an individual's expectations are contradicted there is a tendency for him to resist changing his expectations. In this paper it is proposed that expectations based on diffuse characteristics are more resistant to change than expectations based on specific characteristics. An experiment is conducted to examine what happens when each expectation type is contradicted. The results are not supportive, they indicate that expectations based on specific characteristics take longer to change than expectations based on diffuse characteristics. Suggestions are then made for a redevelopment of the theoretical structure.

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