Marta Mangiarulo, Patrice Rusconi, Simona Sacchi

Status and information-search process: Social asymmetry leads to asymmetric strategies in social hypothesis testing

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Social Hypothesis-Testing; Asymmetric Questions; Status; Confirmation Bias.

Previous studies have indicated that high status people are prone to use leading questions during interpersonal interaction. The present study (N = 254) aimed to investigate if asymmetry between high and low status individuals is likely to bias the social hypothesis testing toward asymmetric questions, namely queries for which the «yes» and the «no» answers are not equally diagnostic. To this purpose, after manipulating their status (supervisor vs. subordinate), participants were asked to choose questions to investigate the presence of attributes (positive or negative) in a social target. The results showed that higher status individuals are more likely to adopt asymmetric confirming strategy during the social hypothesis-testing than lower status individuals. The potential application of this research is discussed.

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