The impact of violations on uncertainty and the consequences for attractiveness


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This investigation aimed at extending past research on expectation violations by arguing that violations vary both in valance and in their influence on uncertainty and that the combination of valence and uncertainty states conjointly influences judgments of a violator's social attractiveness. In explaining the predicted variance in uncertainty following violations, a distinction is proposed between congruent violations (i.e., behaviors that are more intense instantiations of a previously displayed message) and incongruent violations (i.e., behaviors that are opposite in meaning from previously displayed messages). Five models for explaining violation effects are contrasted. Results (a) confirm that violations differ in their impact on uncertainty, (b) generally support the validity of the proposed distinction between congruent and incongruent violations, and show that the inclusion of uncertainty and valence in models of violation outcomes accounts for greater variance in social attraction than either one separately.