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Interpersonal Chemistry through Negativity: Bonding by Sharing Negative Attitudes about Others

Published on Jun 1, 2006in Personal Relationships1.10
· DOI :10.1111/j.1475-6811.2006.00109.x
Jennifer K. Bosson26
Estimated H-index: 26
(University of Texas at Austin),
Amber Johnson4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Texas at Austin)
+ 1 AuthorsWilliam B. Swann60
Estimated H-index: 60
(University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract
We propose that sharing a negative—as compared to a positive—attitude about a third party is particularly effective in promoting closeness between people. Findings from two survey studies and an experiment support this idea. In Studies 1 and 2, participants’ open-ended responses revealed a tendency to recall sharing with their closest friends more negative than positive attitudes about other people. Study 3 established that discovering a shared negative attitude about a target person predicted liking for a stranger more strongly than discovering a shared positive attitude (but only when attitudes were weak). Presumably, sharing negative attitudes is alluring because it establishes in-group/out-group boundaries, boosts self-esteem, and conveys highly diagnostic information about attitude holders. Despite the apparent ubiquity of this effect, participants seemed unaware of it. Instead, they asserted that sharing positive attitudes about others would be particularly effective in promoting closeness.
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  • References (46)
  • Citations (63)
References46
Newest
#1Roy F. Baurneister (FSU: Florida State University)H-Index: 130
#2Liqing Zhang (Case Western Reserve University)H-Index: 7
Last.Kathleen D. Vohs (UofU: University of Utah)H-Index: 65
view all 3 authors...
#1Roy F. Baurneister (Case Western Reserve University)H-Index: 130
#2Ellen Bratslavsky (OSU: Ohio State University)H-Index: 6
Last.Kathleen D. Vohs (Case Western Reserve University)H-Index: 65
view all 4 authors...
Cited By63
Newest
#1Yun Bai (Xi'an Jiaotong University)
#2Jie Wang (UNNC: The University of Nottingham Ningbo China)H-Index: 5
Last.Fuli Li (Xi'an Jiaotong University)
view all 0 authors...
#1Elena Martinescu ('KCL': King's College London)H-Index: 1
#2Onne Janssen (UG: University of Groningen)H-Index: 26
Last.Bernard A. Nijstad (UG: University of Groningen)H-Index: 33
view all 3 authors...
#1Konrad Rudnicki (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 1
#2Charlotte De Backer (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 12
Last.Carolyn H. Declerck (University of Antwerp)H-Index: 2
view all 3 authors...
#1Freda-Marie Hartung (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences)
#2Constanze Krohn (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences)
Last.Marie Pirschtat (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences)
view all 3 authors...
#1Megan L. Robbins (UCR: University of California, Riverside)H-Index: 9
#2Alexander Karan (UCR: University of California, Riverside)H-Index: 1
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