Developing group perceptions through communication: Extensions of the Saying-is-Believing effect

by Hausmann, Leslie R.

Abstract (Summary)
When people communicate to an audience about a target, they tune their message to the audiences opinion. Moreover, their memory for and impressions of the target conform to the audiences opinion, and these effects are mediated by the degree of tuning. This saying-is-believing (SIB) effect has been explained in terms of communicators developing a shared reality about the target with their audience. The current research extends the SIB effect by (1) demonstrating that the SIB effect occurs when the topic of communication is a group rather than an individual, and (2) exploring the effect of audience size on the SIB effect. In Experiment 1, participants communicated about a target group to audiences consisting of either one person or three people who either liked or disliked the target group. Audience opinion about the target group affected participants subsequent memories and impressions of the group through different paths, depending on audience size. In the one-person case, the effects of audience opinion on participants memories and impressions of the target group were mediated by the favorability of participants messages to the audience (the SIB effect). In contrast, in the three-person case, audience opinion had direct (i.e., unmediated) effects on participants memories and impressions. The goal of Experiment 2 was to test whether the SIB effect would occur with a three-person audience under conditions designed to maximize emphasis on communicators own messages and decrease the influence of the audience. When communicators received validation for their message from the three-person audience, the SIB effect occurred for impressions, but not for memories. When communicators received validation for their message and the three-person audience consisted of an interdependent group rather than three individuals, however, the SIB effect occurred for both memories and impressions. Implications of these findings for a shared reality interpretation of the SIB effect are discussed.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Janet W. Schofield; Martin Greenberg; John Levine; Larry E. Davis

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:10/04/2005

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