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The Influence of Incidental Similarity on Self-Revelation in Response to an Intimate Survey

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Abstract:

Because it has been found that people are more willing to help someone with whom they believe they have something in common (Burger, Messian, Patel, del Prado, & Anderson, 2004), we hypothesized that people would become less reluctant to respond to questions on intimate topics when these questions were asked by an interviewer who shared an incidental similarity with the respondent. A male or a female confederate approached, respectively, female and male passers-by seeking their participation in a survey about sexual behavior, in which the questions became increasingly intimate. At the beginning of the survey, the interviewer pointed out (similarity condition) or did not point out (no similarity condition) that he/she and the participant shared the same birth date. It was found that, compared with participants in the no similarity condition, participants in the similarity condition responded to more questions.

Keywords: INCIDENTAL SIMILARITY; INTIMATE TOPICS; SELF-REVELATION; SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS; STRANGERS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2013.41.3.353

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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