The Effect of Attitude Similarity on Task Performance1


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    Work on this project was supported in part by a research grant from the National Science Foundation (GS-40329) to Donn Byrne, Principal Investigator. The authors would like to acknowledge the help of Sheryl Russell and Gary Scott in conducting this experiment.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Donn Byrne, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.


It was hypothesized in a two-person situation that students would perform significantly better on intellectual tasks when paired with a liked other than when paired with a disliked other. In a laboratory experiment, 108 male undergraduates performed one of three types of intellectual tasks with an attitudinally similar or dissimilar partner or with a partner about whom the subject had no attitude information. Individuals paired with a similar partner felt affectively more positive than those paired with a dissimilar partner (p < .01). Individuals paired with a similar other performed significantly better on the tasks than those paired with a dissimilar partner (p < .01).