The usually declare themselves the reason for success

TheSSB is the idea that people will usually declare themselves the reason forsuccess in a task.

But, will usually blame others or the situation if the taskis failed. The researchers wanted to know if, in a task where two people worktogether, if whether a person decides to take credit for the outcome of thetask (or attribute it to the partner) is contingent on the quality of therelationship (either distant and unfamiliar like strangers or close andfamiliar like friends). It was hypothesized that people of distant dyads wouldexhibit strong displays of the SSB; they would blame the other in failure andtake all the credit in success. But, there was uncertainty of whether the SSBwould apply in the same manner to close dyads. There are two competing theoriesover whether SSB will be shown in close dyads. The relationships-as-boundtheory, stating that intimate others are a part of the self, supports the ideathat SSB would not be exhibited.

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To blame the intimate partner would practicallybe like blaming the self. The relations-as-enabler theory supports the ideathat SSB would be exhibited. Relationally close people tend not evaluate eachother negatively, as they do not wish to cause conflict. Even if one has honestsentiments which would hurt the other, they wouldn’t express it aloud.

Theyadhere to each other’s self-image to reciprocally bolster their self-confidencesand continuously reaffirm each other’s character. However, if unannounced tothe other, one may reveal negative sentiments and manifest the SSB in a jointtask. Researchers wanted to know which theory would be further confirmed withthe following methods. The experimenters tried to fabricate relationalcloseness between strangers. Their logic was, with using couples that genuinelyknew each other, there was the potential that individuals would keep themselvesfrom expressing SSB. For all the reasons mentioned regarding the relations-as-enabler.

Making it so the dyad was truly unfamiliar made it so there was no expectationof interacting after the experiment and no fear of being disloyal. This makesan SSB response seem inconsequential to the participant. Aside from that, dyadswere asked not to talk about the experiment or even interact outside of the experimentif possible, which cemented the inconsequence.

The logic here is good, but it willbe attacked later. They were given a light cover story and were told that theywould be working on a couple of unrelated studies. The first was the RCIT inwhich a series of personal disclosure questions were asked. The experimenterwas absent during the RCIT, which is good consideration of environmentalcharacteristics and control over observation bias. If the participant’sdisclosures had any sort of effect on how the experimenter viewed the participant,or vice versa, then there could be a potential extraneous variable. After theRCIT, participants did a manipulation check where they were asked questionsconcerning how close they felt to the partner after the RCIT.

This is aproblem. The cover up story doesn’t detract from the salience of thismanipulation check. Many people would take the RCIT, see that the all thequestions are pertaining to learning about each other’s character, and then readthe manipulation check and immediately be given an insight into what theresearchers are measuring. Participants were then given another light coverstory saying they would be tasked with a creativity assignment. Those in theclose relationship condition stayed with the person they’d taken the RCIT with.Those in the distant relationship condition switched to a new partner who hadalso taken the RCIT. As such, taking the RCIT was something all participantsdid and was controlled.

All participants were told that they were taking the LangeElliot Creativity Test, which has a realistic and professional sounding name. Thename makes it a better cover story than the first. Also, because participantsare likely still caught-up in the first manipulation check. The test was allegedlylooking to see how many uses for an object the dyad could come up with. Theywere told that would be given feedback and that it was normal. Participantswere told that the uses they generated for an object and the uses their partnergenerated would be written down and placed together in a box. The participantswere told the total number of non-repeated answers in the box would be added togetherto get a score of how creative they were.

Participants were asked how importantcreativity was to them as a manipulation check. The participants were then toldof their scores. Their scores were referred to as “combined”. Participants inthe close relation condition were assigned to either a condition where theywere told their collective scores were good or that their collective scoreswere bad. Participants in the distant relation condition were assigned to eitherthe good score or bad score condition as well. All in all, the independentvariables are: type of relation with two levels of close and distant, type ofscore feedback with levels good and bad, and gender (but you asked to leave thatout).

The dependent variable is the degree of SSB response as assessed by thefinal two questions about positive contribution and which partner was moreresponsible (before the final manipulation check). After, participants were toldthat the experimenters couldn’t figure out what answers each member of the dyadhad contributed to the box. The participants, with guaranteed disclosure, wereasked to answer two questions that would “help” the researchers. Thesequestions measured SSB. Participants were asked who was most responsible andwho made the greatest positive contribution to the task. This is a fishy coverbecause most participants would know that, if the experimenter threw theanswers into a box, that the participant would have no way of knowing theproportionality of the contributions.

Participants were then asked to completetwo more manipulation checks. They were asked how well they thought they didand how well they thought their partner did and how important the task was tothem. In the results, they claim the RCIT was effective at creating relationalcloseness. Statistically, this may be so.

However, the participants may havesimply said they felt closer because of social desirability. They may feel likea bad person if they said they didn’t feel close to the person who just gavethem such vast amounts of person information in such a small-time frame. Or,they could’ve believed that they must surely be close to this person nowbecause of all the personal things they said, without considering theartificiality of the circumstance.

This may not be considered an internalvalidity problem. The issue here may generalizability towards genuinely closerelationships. However, the very first manipulation check that asked how closeparticipants felt to their partner is enough to deem this study as low ininternal validity. Researchers asked what the importance of creativity was toparticipants. Seemingly, to show that the participants were invested in theactivity. This too is prone to some biases. Participants may try to justifydoing creativity assessment to themselves post hoc.

Creativity is a quality that’ssocially pedestaled, so they may just fall into saying they value creativity tostray from dissonance. The question should’ve been given to them before the taskinstead. Authors concluded that participants in close condition were moreegalitarian in their distribution of responsibility for questions assessing SSB.The relationship-as-bound theory was what the authors confirmed, but I do notbelieve that causal attributions can be made regarding the results of this study.Random assignment is assumed, so subject characteristics are at the will ofchance.

However, primarily because of the corrupting nature of the coverstories, demand characteristics are high. 

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