Pulling the strings: Effects of friend and parent opinions on dating choices

Authors


  • Brittany L. Wright, Department of Psychology, Mississippi State University; H. Colleen Sinclair, Department of Psychology and Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.

  • Brittany L. Wright is now at the Department of Human Development and Family Science, University of Texas at Austin.

  • The authors would like to thank the Advanced Social Psychology lab at Mississippi State University for their assistance with the project. In particular, we would like to thank Lauren Colvin for her help. Also, we would like to thank Dr. Martin Giesen, Dr. Kristine Jacquin, and Dr. Phillip Drumheller for their feedback on earlier drafts of this article and the project's proposal. Lastly, we would like to thank Dr. Timothy Loving and the anonymous reviewers for helping us strengthen the article.

H. Colleen Sinclair, Department of Psychology and Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 6161, Mississippi State, MS 39762, e-mail: csinclair@ssrc.msstate.edu.

Abstract

The current study examined how dating choices are affected when individuals are faced with social network opinions that are in agreement or disagreement about the quality of potential dates. In a virtual dating game paradigm, participants spoke to 2 potential romantic partners online and received positive and/or negative feedback ostensibly from their friend and parent about 1 of the partners. The study employed a 2 (parent opinion: approve, disapprove) × 2 (friend opinion: approve, disapprove) × 2 (interaction partner: evaluated target, control target—within subjects) mixed factorial design. Friend opinion influenced who the participants liked, whereas parental opinion was influential when participants relied on their parent for more resources than their friend. In the end, though, only friend opinion predicted dating choice.

Ancillary