Undergraduate Honours Theses
Research suggests that males are more persuasive than females (Carli, 1989; Cross, Brown, Morgan, & Laland, 2016). Additionally, research supports that interpersonal closeness facilitates persuasiveness (Thomas & Weigert, 1971). This experiment examines the effect of both persuader’s sex and feelings of closeness on persuasiveness. Participants interacted with a confederate through an online chatroom and completed a modified version of the Relationship Closeness Induction Task (Aron, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, & Bator, 1997). After rating perceptions of closeness with the confederate, participants entered a group chat with two more confederates in addition to the interaction partner in which they discussed a mandatory fee increase. The first two discussion group members were against the fee increase, whereas the participant’s interaction partner was in support of the increase. Similar to what was done in the experiment by Asch (1951), participants publicly expressed their level of support last. Participants then privately rated their level of support for the proposal on a post-interaction questionnaire on which they also answered other questions about their experience. The manipulation check main effect was significant, F(1, 45) = 21.00, p < .001, η2 = .32, with participants in the closeness condition reporting that they felt closer to participants than in they did in the casual condition. There was no significant main effect of closeness [F(1, 43) = .004, p = .95, η2 = .00] or sex of the interaction partner [F(1, 43) = .14, p = .71, η2 = .00] on support for the fee increase for closeness. The interaction between sex of the interaction partner and closeness approached significance F(1, 43) = 3.83, p = .057, η2 = .08. ANCOVAs were also conducted controlling for three variables. Experimental issues and future directions are discussed.
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