A Web Replication of Snyder, Decker and Bercheid (1977)’s Experiment on the Self-Fulfilling Nature of Social Stereotypes

, by Camilo Charron, Jacques Fischer-Lokou, L. Lamy, Marcel Lourel, Nicolas Guéguen

Expectations often result in actions that elicit expectancy-confirming behaviors. Research indicates that the different, and almost always more positive, personality characteristics are attributed to attractive, as compared with unattractive individuals (for reviews see Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani & Longo, 1991) and Lamglois et al, 2000). In a classic demonstration of this phenomenon, Snyder, Decker-Tanke, and Berscheid (1977) had male participants engage in a telephone conversation with a female confederate. When the participants believed that the confederate was an attractive woman they behaved in a more friendly, likeable, and sociable manner than they did when they believed the confederate was unattractive.

Based on the results of Synder et al. (1977) and Walther, Slovacek, and Tidwell, 2001), we hypothesized that an attractive photo accompanying a woman’s personal advertisement on an internet dating site would produce greater involvement from male respondents and increase the likelihood that their communication would elicit a reply from the woman.

The participants were 44 male undergraduate students in business and management at the University of Bretagne-Sud in France aged between 19 to 21. The experiment was presented as a study on the way that men interacted when they explored a Web personal advertisement from a woman. A personal advertisement of a young-women that came form a Web Dating site was used and presented on a computer screen. The solicitor was a young woman (20 years old) who was a student in sociology, who played tennis, and who wanted to meet a young man of her age who was “kind, attractive and with a great sense of humor”.


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