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To teach or to tell? Consequences of receiving help from experts and peers

Authors

  • Katherina Alvarez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Social and Organisational Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • Department of Social and Organisational Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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  • Esther van Leeuwen

    1. Department of Social and Organisational Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Previous research has stressed the positive effects of receiving autonomy-oriented help over dependency-oriented help but has overlooked a potential downside in terms of recipients' evaluations of the helper. Participants in the current experiment (n = 77) requested help while working on difficult puzzles and received either autonomy- or dependency-oriented help from either an expert or a peer. In line with previous findings, receiving autonomy-oriented help led to more self-competence and positive feelings than dependency-oriented help. However, in support of our prediction, participants also felt angrier, had less respect for and less trust in the peer who provided autonomy-oriented help than the peer who provided dependency-oriented help. No differences in the evaluation of the expert helper were found. These findings highlight the importance of considering both the helpers' characteristics and the type of help provided when investigating the psychological consequences of receiving help. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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