This research is concerned with the processes by which one individuals's preconceived beliefs and expectations about another person influence the dynamics and outcomes of social interaction between them. Previous research has demonstrated that an individual (typically referred to in such research as the "perceiver"), having adopted initially erroneous beliefs about another person (referred to as the "target"), will act on these beliefs in ways that cause the behavior of the target to confirm the perceiver's initial beliefs. Such phenomena are known as "behavioral confirmation" processes. Behavioral confirmation processes are of concern to social and behavioral scientists because they provide an opportunity to unravel the intertwining of processes of thought and motivation in the context of ongoing social interaction and interpersonal relationships. This research will explore the psychological and motivational foundations of behavioral confirmation phenomena. The research will be guided by a theoretical analysis of the social and psychological functions that may be served by the activities of perceivers and targets in behavioral confirmation sequences. This theoretical analysis focuses primarily on motivations associated with acquiring social knowledge and those associated with regulating social interactions. Empirical investigations, using procedures specifically designed for this program of research, will be conducted to test the implications of this theory for specifying when and why behavioral confirmation will or will not occur in social interaction. Implications of these theoretical and empirical inquiries, not only for understanding the nature of behavioral confirmation but also for understanding the very nature of social interaction and interpersonal relationships themselves, will be explored. The Principal Investigator is a major contributor to work on this topic. His paradigms have been adopted by other researchers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Jean B. Intermaggio
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
United States
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