Causal uncertainty during initial interactions
Article first published online: 29 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 42, Issue 5, pages 652–663, August 2012
How to Cite
Boucher, E. M. and Jacobson, J. A. (2012), Causal uncertainty during initial interactions. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 42: 652–663. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1876
- Issue published online: 10 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 29 MAR 2012
- causal uncertainty;
- social interactions;
- uncertainty reduction
Causal uncertainty (CU) refers to persistent doubts people have about their ability to understand causes of social events. Although such confusion about social dynamics should affect social exchanges, previous research has been limited to the realm of social cognition (i.e., computer-based studies exploring perceptions of hypothetical others). In three studies, we explored CU effects during real-time social interactions with unacquainted conversational partners. We found that high CU participants perceived their conversations and conversational partners more negatively than did low CU participants and that these negative social perceptions stemmed from an inability to sufficiently reduce their cognitive uncertainty. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.