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Interpersonal similarity extrapolation between domains

Author: Noguti, Valeria INSEAD Area: Decision SciencesPublisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2006.Language: EnglishDescription: 89 p. : Ill. ; 30 cm.Type of document: INSEAD ThesisThesis Note: For the degree of Ph.D. in management, INSEAD, June 2006Bibliography/Index: Includes bibliographical referencesAbstract: Research has shown that people form impressions of other individuals based on an active categorization process (Brewer, 1988). As people often interpret information about others according to its congruency with the self (Gramzow Gaertner, and Sedikides, 2001), it is likely that the categorization occurs in relation to the similarity of other individuals and the self. Perceived similarity between the self and another individual will produce mental representations that overlap with the self. We argue that the overlap determines how typical the other individual is of an ad hoc category of the type "people similar to me." Once categorization takes place, additional attributes of other individuals will be inferred from this category (Brewer, 1988). We argue that this categorical inference process leads to a phenomenon we call similarity extrapolation ---the psychological transfer of similarity in preferences between self and others from a specific, yet arbitrary, domain to unrelated domains. In this dissertation we not only demonstrate similarity extrapolation exists but also that it is a robust effect, not limited to particular domains or specific tasks. As alternative explanations for the effect, we discuss two mechanisms: liking and consensus. The liking mechanism suggests that similarity in preferences generates a positive affective reaction toward the other, which in turn motivates inferences of further similarity (Chaiken, 1987; Heider, 1958; Nisbett and Wilson, 1977). According to the consensus mechanism (Ross, Greene, and House, 1977), the degree of similarity between the self and another person in a domain may influence people's natural tendency to infer their own opinions are shared by the majority of the population. Besides demonstrating the similarity extrapolation phenomenon, in four studies we rule out liking as an explanation for our findings, as well as consensus in judgment, and we provide support for categorical inference. We present implications of similarity extrapolation at the end of our discussion. List(s) this item appears in: Ph.D. Thesis
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For the degree of Ph.D. in management, INSEAD, June 2006

Includes bibliographical references

Research has shown that people form impressions of other individuals based on an active categorization process (Brewer, 1988). As people often interpret information about others according to its congruency with the self (Gramzow Gaertner, and Sedikides, 2001), it is likely that the categorization occurs in relation to the similarity of other individuals and the self. Perceived similarity between the self and another individual will produce mental representations that overlap with the self. We argue that the overlap determines how typical the other individual is of an ad hoc category of the type "people similar to me." Once categorization takes place, additional attributes of other individuals will be inferred from this category (Brewer, 1988).
We argue that this categorical inference process leads to a phenomenon we call similarity extrapolation ---the psychological transfer of similarity in preferences between self and others from a specific, yet arbitrary, domain to unrelated domains. In this dissertation we not only demonstrate similarity extrapolation exists but also that it is a robust effect, not limited to particular domains or specific tasks.
As alternative explanations for the effect, we discuss two mechanisms: liking and consensus. The liking mechanism suggests that similarity in preferences generates a positive affective reaction toward the other, which in turn motivates inferences of further similarity (Chaiken, 1987; Heider, 1958; Nisbett and Wilson, 1977). According to the consensus mechanism (Ross, Greene, and House, 1977), the degree of similarity between the self and another person in a domain may influence people's natural tendency to infer their own opinions are shared by the majority of the population.
Besides demonstrating the similarity extrapolation phenomenon, in four studies we rule out liking as an explanation for our findings, as well as consensus in judgment, and we provide support for categorical inference. We present implications of similarity extrapolation at the end of our discussion.

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