Effects of self-esteem and expected duration of interaction on liking for a highly rewarding partner.
Psychological theories predicated on the assumption of human selfishness and theories based on principles of equity may lead to conflicting predictions about when a person will like his partner. Of special interest are a person's reactions to receiving uncommonly high rewards. The present study addressed this issue by examing the development of same-sex liking in 40 female college students. It was hypothesized that subjects with lowered self-esteem, having a great need for interpersonal rewards, would react favorably to the receipt of such rewards, even if underserved. Subjects with raised self-esteem, on the other hand, having had their need for rewards met, should respond unfavorably to the receipt of high rewards, desiring a more equitable distribution of reward. These effects should be strong only when continuing dyadic interaction is expected (i.e., as issues of stability and reciprocity become salient). The predictions were confirmed.
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