Implicit theories about influence style: The effects of status and sex

Valerie J Steffen, Alice H Eagly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This experiment explored people's implicit theories about the effects of influencers' and targets' status and sex on the directness and politeness of influencers' persuasive style. Female and male subjects read a description of either a woman influencing a man or a man influencing a woman. Either the influencer's job title was high in status and the target's was low, the influencer's title was low in status and the target's was high, or neither person had a job title. For each of four request styles that varied in directness and politeness, subjects rated the likelihood that the influencer would (1) use the style; (2) gain compliance by using the style; and (3) be liked by the target after using the style. As predicted, high-status influencers were considered more likely to use direct and impolite styles and less likely to use indirect and polite styles than low status influencers. As a consequence of using direct and impolite styles, high status influencers were thought more likely to gain compliance and liking than low-status influencers. The sex of the influencer and target had little effect on subjects' implicit theories of influence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-205
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

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