THE DISCLOSURE-LIKING RELATIONSHIP

Effects of Self-Perception, Order of Disclosure, and Topical Similarity

Authors

  • JOHN H. BERG,

    1. John H. Berg (Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1979) is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi, University, Mississippi 38677.
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  • RICHARD L. ARCHER

    1. Richard L. Archer (Ph.D., Duke University, 1976) is an assistant professor of psychology at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas 78666.
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Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of a perceiver's own disclosure on attraction for self-disclosing others. In Experiment 1, female undergraduates selected two topics and disclosed information on them to a confederate partner. This disclosure occurred either before or after the confederate disclosed information on three different topics that were either high or low in intimacy. Based on self-perception theory, it was predicted and found that intimacy of the subject's self-disclosure would be positively correlated with attraction for the confederate when the subject disclosed before her partner but not when she disclosed after her partner. A second prediction that subjects would be attracted toward a highly intimate partner only if they had previously disclosed was not confirmed. Instead, attraction for the confederate was greater when she had disclosed before the subject and when she had disclosed intimately. Experiment 2 varied the intimacy of the response of a partner to the subject's initial self-disclosure and whether this response dealt with the same topics or different topics. It was found that attraction was greater for an intimate than a nonintimate partner when topics for disclosure were the same. When disclosure topics were different, there was no significant difference in attraction for the intimate and nonintimate partner. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the disclosure-liking hypothesis.

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