The Acceptance Prophecy: How We Control Who Likes Us
Studies indicate that when it comes to being likeable, it's all in your mind - and you get pretty much exactly what you're anticipating.
Familiar with the "Acceptance Prophecy"? In addition to being an awesome band name, it's also a sociological fact: when we think other people are going to like us, we behave more warmly towards them and consequently they like us more. When we think other people aren't going to like us, we behave more coldly and they don't like us as much.
Need some scientific proof? A group of researchers headed by Danu Anthony Stinson of the University of Waterloo examined the ways that anticipation begets fondness by manipulating test subject's expectations about a person they were going to meet.
Stinson's team recruited 28 men, and told all of them that they were about to meet an attractive woman. Half of the group were told that the woman was quite nervous and worried about how she would be perceived by them; the other were told only neutral demographic information.
"Quite naturally when these men found that the woman was nervous and insecure it made them feel better in comparison," explains PsyBlog. "This had the effect of making the men much less anxious about the interaction (actually about half as nervous as judged by independent observers) and consequently much warmer."
"What the results showed was that when the risk of rejection was lower, men acted more warmly towards the woman to whom they were talking," continues PsyBlog. "This extra warmth also lead to a panel of observers liking them more in comparison with those who were more fearful of risk and therefore interpersonally colder." In other words, the acceptance prophecy held true - people who expected acceptance acted more warmly, and were thus perceived as more likeable.
So, take this as a wake-up call - and walk into the room with your head held high, anticipating a good reception! It may make the difference between being liked or not.
Painting Anticipation by Pino
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