Timing of self-disclosure and its effects on personal attraction
AbstractAsked 80 female undergraduates to evaluate a target person from a taped interview during which he talked about past events in his life. During the interview, the stimulus person mentioned an important experience that was either pleasant or traumatic and was an event for which he either was or was not responsible. The presentation of the critical information occurred either early in the interview or in response to a probing question at the end. Findings generally support the expectation that it is unattractive to disclose a good fortune early in a relationship. When disclosure of a negative experience was involved, the consequences of early vs. late disclosure depended on the target person's responsibility for the event. The responsible person who disclosed bad fortune early was more attractive than the late discloser; however, when the person was not responsible for an experience of bad fortune, he was better liked if the event was disclosed late in the interview. Results provide a clear demonstration that the manner of describing a past experience may have at least as much impact on attraction as the nature of the experience described.