The current investigation addressed (a) the perseverance of preinteraction expectancies in the face of actual communication behavior, (b) the separate effects of personal attribute and communication expectancies, and (c) the role of expectancy confirmation or disconfirmation on postinteraction evaluations. Participant perceivers were induced to hold positive or negative expectancies regarding a target partner's general personal attributes and specific communication behavior prior to a problem‐solving discussion. They then interacted with a confederate target who communicated in a pleasant, involved fashion or its opposite, after which perceivers evaluated target personal attributes and communication behavior. All three hypotheses received at least partial support. Preinteractional expectancies, especially personal attribute ones, caused perceivers to evaluate targets and their communication behavior differently, with negatively valenced expectancies serving as negative violations. Relative to a pleasant, involved communication style, unpleasant, uninvolved communication was less expected and evaluated negatively, thus functioning as a negative violation; it also reduced credibility, attraction, and perceived rewardingness of the target. Finally, disconfirmatory communication altered target evaluations relative to confirmatory communication, especially for high‐valence targets. These results lend support to the premises and predictions of expectancy violations theory.
Human Communication Research – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 1993
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