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Whats in a Name Persuasion Perhaps GARNER NAME SIMILARITY AND PERSUASION Randy G

Some participants received a scenario in which the protagonists name was similar to their own These participants indicated that the character was more similar to themselves reported greater liking for the person and expressed more willingness to com

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Whats in a Name Persuasion Perhaps GARNER NAME SIMILARITY AND PERSUASION Randy G




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Presentation on theme: "Whats in a Name Persuasion Perhaps GARNER NAME SIMILARITY AND PERSUASION Randy G"— Presentation transcript:

RequestsforreprintsshouldbesenttoRandyGarner,SamHoustonStateUniversity,BehavioralSciences,CollegeofCriminalJustice,Huntsville, TX77340–2296. E-mail: rgarner@shsu.edu pactofnamesimilarityorfamiliarityonovertbehavior.Rather,itmayonlyreflectaninfluenceofthesefactorsonpreferencesthatwerereportedinavotingboothratherthanOverview and PredictionsInStudy1,Ideterminedwhethermerenamesimilaritycaninfluencelikingandthewillingnesstoperformafavor.Participantsreadascenarioinwhichthenameofthecentralcharacterwaseithersimilarordissimilartotheirown.Iexpectedthatthosepersonswhoreadthescenariocontainingthename-similarcharacterwouldreportthatthecharacterwassimilartothemselves,wouldevaluatethecharactermorefavorably,andwouldreportgreaterwillingnesstoperformafavor for that person.Study2wassimilartothefirstexperimentexceptthatthecontrolgroupnameswerehighlyfamiliar,thuspermittingtheeffectsofnamesimilarityandnamefamiliaritytobedistinguished.Inaddition,Iexaminedthelengthoftimethatindividualsineachname-similarityconditionrequiredtocompletethetaskandtheamountofinformationinthescenariothattheywereabletorecall.Thesedataprovidedfurtherin-sightintotheamountofcognitiveprocessingthatpartici-InStudies3and4,participantsreceivedamailedques-tionnairealongwithacoverletterexplainingtheimportanceofthesurvey.Thecoverletterinonegroupwassignedwithanamesimilartotherecipients,whereasthecoverletterinthesecondgroupwassignedbyoneofseveralactualresearchas-sistantswhosenamesaredissimilarfromtherecipient.TheparticipantsinStudy3weredrawnfromundergraduatepsy-chologystudents,whereasthesurveymaterialsinstudy4weredistributedtoUniversityprofessorsthroughinterofficemail.Inbothcases,Ihypothesizedthatmoresurveyswouldbereturnedbyrecipientswhoreceivedthequestionnairefrom someone whose name was similar to their own.STUDY 1Participants.Inthisstudy,52femaleand30maleundergraduatepsychologystudentsparticipatedtofulfillaclassrequirement.Fromaclassrosterof91names,40personswererandomlyselectedtoreadascenarioinwhichtheprotagonist’snamewassimilartotheirown.Theremainingstudentsreadascenarioinwhichtheprotagonist’snamewasunfamiliar.Materials.Eachparticipantreceivedatwo-pagepacketpurportedtobeapartofareadingcomprehensionstudyfortheCommunicationDepartment.Thefirstpagecontainedabriefscenariothatprovidedadescriptionofafictitiouspersonincludingphysicalandpersonalitycharacteristicsaswellascertainlikesanddislikes.Thenarrativealsoincludedcommentsaboutthescenariosfictitiouscharacter,whichwerereportedtocomefromthecharacters’friends.Thedescriptionswerekeptneutralsothattheywouldbeapplicabletobothconditionswithoutregardtogender.Thesescenarioswereidenticalineverywaywiththeexceptionofthenameofthecentralfigure.Thoseinthename-similarconditionreceivedascenarioinwhichthenameofthecentralcharacterwassimilartotheparticipant.Theparticipantsinthecontrolconditionreceivedascenarioinwhichthecentralcharacterwasalwaysnamed“KerryStanlin.”Aseriesofpretestssuggestedthatthisnamewasbothgenderneutralandwasratedasmoderatelypositivewhencomparedtoamorecomprehensivelist.Forthename-similarcondition,agroupofresearchjudgescreatednamesthatweresimilarbutnotidenticaltothe40participantswhowererandomlyselectedfromtheclassroll.Earlyinthesemester,eachclassmemberhadbeenaskedtofillouta3×5in.indexcardthatincludedtheirnameandotherpertinentdata.Thisinformationwasusedtoinsurethenamepreferredbythestudent(e.g.,BobinsteadofRobert)wasutilizedincreatingthename-similarconditions.Ineachcase,thefirstnameofthecharacterwassimilaroriden-ticaltotheparticipantandthelastnamewasmodifiedtocre-ateasimilarappearingsurname.Forexample,anameap-pearingontheclassrollsuchasRobertGreermightbecomeBobGregarandCynthiaJohnstonmaybecomeCindyJohanson.Severalnamesposedparticularchallengesforthejudges; however, in each case, agreement was reached.Thesecondpageofthepacketwascompletedaftertheparticipantshadreadthescenario.Eachparticipantwasaskedtoratethelikabilityofthecentralcharacter,howwillingheorshewouldbetoperformafavorforthischaracterifasked,andhowsimilarheorshebelievedthecharacterwastothemselves.Allmeasureswererecordedon13-pointscalesrangingfrom1(notatall)to13(extremely).Severalotherquestionsdealtwiththecontentofthestoryinkeepingwiththepurportedintentionoftheresearcheffort.Anopennarrativesectionwasalsoincludedinwhichparticipantscouldindicatethereasonsfortheratingdecisionstheymade.Design and procedure.Ofthe82studentswhoparticipatedintheexperiment,40receivedname-similarpacketsandtheremaining42weregivencontrolpackets.Participantsreceivedamanilaenvelopethatcontainedtheirrandomlyassignedscenarioandquestionnaire.ThepacketsTheparticipantsweretoldthattheenclosedmaterialsinvolvedaveryshortreadingcomprehensionexercisethatwasbeingconductedattherequestoftheCommunicationDepartment.Theywereinstructedtoopenthepacketandweregiven2mintoreadthescenario.Oncetheyhadfinished,theyweretoldtoturnthepageandanswerallofthequestionswithoutreturningtothescenario.Finally,afterrespondingto storyyourread?”and“Whattypesofactivitiesdidtheindividualreportthattheyenjoyed?”wasscoredintermsoftheDesign and procedure.Inthisstudy,112participantswerepresentandreceivedeitheraname-similarscenario(56)oraname-familiar(=56)scenariopacketbasedonpreviousrandomassignment.Becauseoftherequirementsimposedbythismethodology,thematerialswerepreparedinadvance,andprecautionsweretakentoensureequivalenceingroups.Participantsinthename-similarconditionwereprovidedpacketssimilartothoseemployedinStudy1.Thoseinthename-familiarconditionrandomlyreceivedapacketinwhichthecentralcharacter’snamewasconstructedfromtheU.S.CensusandSocialSecurityAdministrationdatadescribedearlier.Men(=22)receivedthepacketswiththemostfamiliarmalenames(e.g.,JamesSmith,RobertJohnson,JohnJones,etc.)andwomen(=34)receivedpacketswiththemostfamiliarfemalenames(MarySmith,PatriciaJohnson, Linda Williams, etc.).TheproceduresandinstructionsweresimilartoStudy1.Theparticipantswereaskedtocompleteashortreadingcom-prehensionexercisethatwasbeingconductedattherequestoftheCommunicationDepartment.Attheconclusionoftheexercise,thestudentsinthisstudywereaskedtobringtheircompletedpackettooneoftheresearchassistantsatthefrontoftheroom.Theassistantsrecordedthetimethatthepacketwasreturned.Participantswerenotdebriefedimmediatelyasinthepreviousstudy.A2-weekfollow-upwasconductedinwhichthe10-question,content-retentioninstrumentwasad-ministered.Oncethisprocesswascompleted,thepartici-pants were thanked and fully debriefed.TheresultsofthisstudyaresummarizedintherighthalfofTable1.ConsistentwiththeresultsinStudy1,participantsinname-similarconditionsindicatedthatthecentralcharacterwasmoresimilartothemselves(=8.84)thandidparticipantsinname-familiarconditions(=5.82),110)=66.51,.001,=.377.Theyalsoratedthecharacterasrelativelymorelikeable(9.64vs.7.62),(1,110)=.01,=.197andweremorewillingtodoafavorfortheperson(9.21vs.7.26),(1,110)=29.88,=.214.Allmeasureswerehighlycorrelated,rangingfrom.68to.71.Therewerenosignificantdifferencesbygenderineithercondition.Participantsinthename-familiarconditiongavesimilarity-to-selfratingsthatwerebelowthemidpointofthescale.Time to complete the questionnaire.Participantsinthename-similarconditiontooksignificantlylonger(15.05min)tocompleteandreturntheirpacketsthandidthoseinthename-familiarcondition(=12.44min),Information recall.Thefollow-upinstrumentdesignedtoassesscontentretentionofthescenariowasadministeredto101oftheoriginal112participants.(Ofthe11missingparticipants,7wereinthename-similarconditionand4wereinthename-familiarcondition.)Althoughparticipantsrecalledagreaterproportionoftheinformationinname-similarconditions(=82.0%)thaninname-familiarconditions=78.9%),thisdifferencewasonlymarginallysignificant,(1,100)=3.02,.09.Thismaybeduetotheratherstraightforwardcontentinthescenarioandthesimplenatureof the exercise.Theresultssuggestthatnamesimilarityratherthannamefamiliarityhadthedominantinfluenceundertheconditionsweinvestigated.Participantsinname-similarconditionsrelativetothoseinname-familiarconditionsperceivedthemselvestobemoresimilartothecharacter,likedthecharactermore,andexpressedgreaterwillingnesstodothepersonafavor.Thus,thefamiliarnamesusedinthisstudydidnothavethesamepersuasiveeffectasthesimilarones.Itispossiblethattheparticipantsviewedthesimilarnamesassocommonrelativetotheirownthattheydecreasedtheirperceptionsofsimilarity.Thisissomewhatakintothefalseuniquenesseffect(Goethals,Messick,&Allison,1991)inwhichpeoplebelieveandwanttobeviewedasdistinctiveratherthancommonplace.Itisimportanttonotethatalthoughthecontrolnameswereintentionallycreatedtobehighlyfamiliar,theymaynotbeviewedasfamiliarasone’sownname.Asaresult,onemightarguethatnamefamiliarityremainsapossiblemediator.However,acomparisonoftheresultsofStudies1and2arguesagainstthisconclusion.Table1showsastrongcorrespondenceinscoresassociatedwiththename-similarconditionsinbothstudies.Furthermore,thedataforthetwocontrolconditionsarealsoverysimilardespiteimportantdifferencesintheirconstruction.AlthoughthecommonnamesinStudy2mayhavebeenlessfamiliartoparticipantsthantheirownnames,theywereclearlymorefamiliarthanKerryStanlin.However,aposthocanalysisindicatesthatthereisnosignificantdifferencebetweenthemeanratingsbycondition(namesimilarorcontrol)onanyvariableacrossthetwostudies(1inallcases).Althoughcautionshouldbeexercisedwhenmakingcomparisonsacrossstudies,theseexperimentswereconductedwithinasimilartimeframeandparticipantsweredrawnfromthesameparticipantpopulation.Therefore,theseresultsstronglyargueagainstfamiliarityastheprimarymediator.ParticipantsinStudy2spentmoretimethinkingaboutthescenarioinname-similarthaninname-familiarconditionsandhadnonsignificantlybetterrecalloftheinformationpresentedinformerconditions.Thesedatasuggestthatasimilarnamestimulatedparticipants’attentiontothecontentofthescenario,resultinginamorecarefulassessmentofitsimpli makingthesurveyproceduremoreefficientandproductiveinthefuture.Inthiscontext,participantswereaskedtoindicateanyreasonstheyconsideredwhendecidingtocompleteandreturnthesurvey.Fontstyle,generalappearance,andimportanceoftheinformationwerelistedaspossibleexamples,although the format was open ended.Design and procedure.Thirtyuniversityprofessorswererandomlyselectedtoreceiveaname-similarsurveypacketdescribedpreviously.Anadditional30professorsrandomlyreceivedacontrolsurveypacketalsocreatedinaccordancewithStudy3procedures.Thematerialsweresentviainterofficemailandincludedareturn-addressenvelope.Thosewhoreturnedthesurveywithintherequested10daysweresentthefollow-upquestionnaire.Thiswasdoneinanefforttodetermineifthoseinthename-similarconditionidentifiedthenamesimilarityoftherequesterasareasonorconsideration for the return of the survey.Attheconclusionofthestudy,allparticipantswereprovidedwithdetailedcorrespondenceoutliningthetruenatureofthestudy.Thecommunicationlistedanumbertocalliftherewereanyconcernsorquestions.Norequestsforaddi-tional information or inquiry were received.Thehypothesiswasconfirmed.Thosefacultymembersweresignificantlymorelikelytoreturntheirsurveyiftheyre-ceivedaname-similarcoverletter(56%;=17)thaniftheydidnot(30%;=9),=60)=4.34,.04.Follow-upquestionnairesweresenttoallofthosewhoreturnedtheirsurveysregardlessofcondition.Therewasnosignificantcontentvariationintheresponsesprovided.Analysisofthefollow-upquestionnaire,whichwasreturnedby9ofthe17participantsinthename-similarcondition,revealedthatnoneoftheparticipantswhoreturnedtheirsurveyindicatedthatthenamesimilarityofthesenderwasareasonfortheirreTheresultsofStudy4confirmtheconclusionthatperceivednamesimilaritycaninfluenceovertbehavioraloutcomes.Inthisreal-worldsetting,universityprofessorswhoreceivedthecoverlettersignedwithanamethatwassimilartotheirowncompletedandreturnedthesurveyinsignificantlygreaternumbersthanthoseinthecontrolgroup.AsidentifiedinStudy3,thelevelofcommitmentinvolvedinthisbehavioralsequencefarexceedthemereexpressionofaparticularNotsurprisingly,noneoftherecipientswhoreturnedthesurveyindicatedthatsimilarityofnamewasinvolvedintheirbehavioraldecisiontocompleteandreturnthesurvey.BornsteinandD’Agostino(1992)suggestedthatsucheffectsarestrongestwhentheyareperceivedwithoutconsciousawareness.Althoughitispossiblethatthenamesimilaritywasnoticed,itwasapparentlynotidentifiedasaconsciousconsiderationincomplyingwiththerequest.Thesefindingsareconsistentwiththeincreasingbodyofliteraturethathassuggestedpeoplefrequentlyrelyoncognitiveshortcutsindecisionmaking(Chaiken,1980,1987;Chaiken&Trope,1999;Eagly&Chaiken,1993;Petty&Cacioppo,1986).Thefailureofparticipantstomentionnamesimilarityasabasisfortheirdecisionmustbeevaluatedwithcautionduetotheobviousfailingsofhumanmemoryoverthe2-weekintervalbetweencompletionofthequestionnaireandthefollow-upsurvey.Furthermore,participantsmayhaveconsciouslyconsiderednamesimilarityatthetimetheyfirstdecidedtocompletethesurveybutmayhaveconsideredonlymoreproximalreasonsfortheirdecisionswhenlateraskedaboutit.Thisseriesofstudiesprovidedstrongsupportforthename-similarityeffect.Indoingso,theydemonstratedthatsomethingasseeminglyinsignificantasnamesimilaritycanhaveapersuasiveinfluenceonperceptionsofliking,percep-tionsofsimilaritytoself,andtheexpressedintentiontoen-gageintangiblebehavior(viz.,agreeingtodoafavor).Inad-dition,namesimilarityinducedindividualstoengageinanovertbehavioraltask.Thisfindingextendstheimplicationsofpreviousresearch,whichhasoftenconsideredonlygen-eral preferences for the first or the last letter in one’s name.Studies1and2notonlyprovidedevidencethatnamesim-ilaritycanhaveapotentinfluenceonperceptions,butindi-catedthattheeffectoccurredindependentlyofnamefamiliarity.Ifgeneralnamefamiliaritywereequallypersuasive,itshouldhavehadaninfluenceinthecontrolconditionofStudy2inwhichthenameswerequitefamiliar.Infact,thisinfluencewasnotevident.Moreover,theeffectsintheseconditionsdidnotdifferfromthoseobservedincontrolconditionsofStudy1inwhichthename(KerryStanlin)wasunfamiliaraswellasdissimilar.Incombination,thesedataprovideastrongargumentagainstfamiliarityastheprimarymediator.ItispossiblethatthecommonnamesusedinStudy2weresogeneralastohavelimitedpersuasiveappeal.Forexample,thenameJohnSmithmaybeamongthemostfrequentandfamiliarnames;however,itsverygeneralitymayadverselyimpactanypotentialinfluence.Onemightpaymoreattentiontosomethingastheresultofseeinganamesimilartooneself,butanameascommonasJohnSmithmayhardlycaptureone’sattention.Namesthatarepopular,familiar,andassociatedwithwellknownindividuals(e.g.,GeorgeBush,DonaldTrump,orMohammedAli)mayhaveresultedinmuch different findings.However,Study2providedasuggestionastoapotentialmediatingfactorinthisnamesimilarityprocess.Thosewho Lee,A.(2001).Themereexposureeffect:Anuncertaintyreductionexplanationrevisited.PersonalityandSocialPsychologyBulletin,27,Miller,D.(1991).Handbookofresearchdesignandsocialmeasurement(5th ed.). New York: McKay.Moreland,R.,&Zajonc,R.(1976).Astrongtestofexposureeffects.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 12,Nuttin,J.(1987).Affectiveconsequencesofmereownership:ThenamedlettereffectintwelveEuropeanlanguages.EuropeanJournalofSocialPsychology, 17,Pelham,B.,Mirenberg,C.,&Carvallo,X.(2002).Implicitegotism:Implicationsforinterpersonalattraction.ManuscriptsubmittedforpublicaPelham,B.,Mirenberg,C.,&Jones,J.(2002).WhySusiesellsseashellsbytheseashore:Implicitegotismandmajorlifedecisions.JournalofPersonality and Social Psychology, 82,Petty,R.E.,&Cacioppo,J.T.(1986).Communicationandpersuasion:Centralandperipheralroutestoattitudechange.NewYork:Springer-Verlag.Reaney, P. (1967).Strumpfer,D.(1978).Relationshipbetweenattitudestowardsone’snamesPsychological Reports, 43,Swap,W.C.(1977).Interpersonalattractionandrepeatedexposuretorewardersandpunishers.PersonalityandSocialPsychologyBulletin,3,Zajonc,R.B.(1968).Theattitudinaleffectsofmereexposure.[MonographsJournal of Personality And Social Psychology, 9,Received: December 19, 2003