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1 Bandler and Grinder (1975), founders of the neurolinguistic programming tradition, have argued that therapists who match their clients' preferred representational system (visual, auditory or kinesthetic) will "create an atmosphere of rapport and understanding" and, by implication, increase their influence over these clients. This is only one kind of matching that has been advocated as a means of achieving influence. Arguments can be made for the efficacy of matching attitudes, making eye contact, role reversal (in which one feeds back to the other her perspective in a quarrel), and the like. Furthermore, there is a long tradition of research and practice on the efficacy of reciprocity, that is, matching benefit for benefit and harm for harm. This paper presents an overview of theory and research on all kinds of matching...its impact on behavior and its origins. The paper contains two main sections. One deals with substantive matching, that is, similarity in appearance between one's behavior and characteristics and those of the other party. The other deals with reciprocity. - SUBSTANTIATE MATCHING AS A SOCIAL INFLUENCE STRATEGY In this section, we consider the rode of substantive matching in the social influence process. Included within this rubric are similarity of attitudes, appearance, and
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2 personality characteristics, as well as nonverbal and verbal behaviors. The section will be divided into two subsections, one on matching of personal characteristics and the other on matching in communication. Part of the latter discussion will consider the role of substantive matching as a source of influence in psychotherapy. In reviewing these literatures, we will discuss research and theory that is mostly consistent with the following assertions. First, matching produces positive attitudes (by which we mean greater liking, rapport' or trust). Second, positive attitudes increase influence. Third, matching increases influence, a point that can be derived from the first two assertions. Matching of Personal Characteristics Similarity and Attraction A voluminous body of research has examined the link between similarity on dimensions such as attractiveness, attitudes, and personality characteristics and liking. Attitude Similarity Perceived similarity of attitudes appears to be a particularly important source of attraction. For example, in a field study, Newcomb (1961) found that the
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3 extent of attitude similarity predicted the degree to which people were attracted to each other after several months of association. Laboratory experiments involving the manipulation of perceived attitudes also provide consistent support for the hypothesis that people tend to like others whose attitudes seem similar to theirs (see Berscheid and Walster, 1969; 1978; Byrne, 1971; for reviews). Some, and perhaps virtually all, people seem to be aware that similarity of attitudes increases liking, and use this principle to increase their attractiveness to another. In a study by Zanna and Pack (1975), female subjects learned that they would meet an attractive or an unattractive male, who held either traditional or liberal attitudes toward women. When the male was attractive, but not when he was unattractive, the subjects presented themselves as more liberal to the liberal male, and more traditional to the traditional male. Thus, the subjects deliberately matched (or gave the appearance of matching) the attitudes of the attractive male, presumably to increase their attractiveness to him. There are limitations to the strategy of attitude matching. There is no increase in liking when one perceives that another person is expressing similarity of attitudes with manipulative intent, for the purpose of ingratiation (Jones, 1964; Jones and Pittman, 1982; Jones and Wortman, 1973~. When one has a need for uniqueness (Snyder and Fronkin, 1980), a highly similar other will threaten this
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4 need, and one will tend not to like the other. In addition, when similarity to another person has unpleasant implications, the other will be disliked. For example, attitudinal similarity leads to decreased willingness to interact with another if the other is believed to have a history of emotional disturbance (Novak and Lerner, 1968; see also Cooper and Jones, 1969; Taylor and Mettee, 1971; and see Berscheid, 1985 for a review). The effect of attitude similarity on attraction appears to be most important at the beginning of a relationship (Berscheid, 1985~. In dating couples, similarity of attitudes appears to decline as a determinant of the progress of the relationship (Hillel al., 1976; Levinger, 1972), whereas similarity of age, intelligence and physical appearance holds its own (Hill et al., 1976~. The reason for the declining significance of attitudes in these relationships is not clear. Conceivably, similarity of attitudes is an initial ''screening" criterion for involvement in a relationship, and similarity along other dimensions becomes more important once this criterion is satisfied. Similarity in Physical Attractiveness Couples in ~ong-term relationships tend to be similar in physical attractiveness. This is true of same-sex friends (cf. Cash and Deriega, 1978) as well as of dating couples (Berscheid et al., 1971; Murstein, 1972; Silverman, 1971) and married couples
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5 (Murstein and Christy, 1976~. In contrast to attitude similarity, this effect does not seem to be due to the impact of similarity on attraction. In general, when judging strangers, people report more liking for more physically attractive others, regardless of how similar they are in attractiveness (see Adams and Crossman, 1978 ; Berscheid and Walster, 1974 ; Huston and Levinger, 1978, for reviews). However, it is inevitable that compromises must be made since the choice of a romantic partner must be mutual. Hence, in the long run, people tend to choose others who are similar in attractiveness because those individuals are more likely to choose them in return than are more attractive individuals. Similarity in Personality Popular intuition to the contrary, there is no convincing empirical support for either the hypothesis that similarity of personalities will increase liking or the hypothesis that dissimilarity (i.e., complementarily) of personalities will increase liking (e.g. t Ajzen' 1974; Hoffman and Mater/ 1966; Meyer and Pepper, 1977; Murstein, 1976). Theories of Similarity Effects on Attraction There are several theoretical explanations for the effects of similarity on liking. These tend to explain the effects of similarity on some dimensions better than others. Byrne (1971) has suggested a reinforcement interpretation, which
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6 applies most clearly to attitude similarity. According to Byrne (1971:338), attitude similarity is directly reinforcing, because it satisfies the need to feel that one is "logical, consistent, and accurate in interpreting the stimulus world."' Heider's (1958) balance~theory also accounts for the effects of similarity of attitudes on liking. It suggests that if we share another person's attitude toward some object, then the tendency toward a balanced "P-O-X" (person-other-object) system will lead to a tendency to feel positively about the other. Furthermore, if we like another person, we will tend to assume that the other shares our attitudes (cf. Granberg and King, 1980; Levinger and Breedlove, 1966~. Berscheid (1985) notes that attitude similarity may have either positive or negative implications, although positive implications are probably more common. For example, attitude similarity may provide a person with consensual validation for her opinions, imply that the other will like her, permit greater prediction of the otherls behavior, and suggest that the person will enjoy interacting with the other in mutually enjoyable activities. Hence, Berscheid (1985:457) concludes that, "it is not so much similarity itself that is rewarding or dissimilarity alone that is punishing; rather it is the implications, presumed or anticipated, of those facts that are responsible for similarity-attraction effects and for their limitations and exceptions."
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7 Matching of attributes that define or create social categories, such as religion or ethnicity, may increase liking by creating a sense of shared group membership. According to Heider (1958) "unit relations" lead to tt sentiment relations." That is, a sense of belonging together leads to liking, and a sense of not belonging together leads to disliking. For example, matching on religious or ethnic group membership tends to produce a perceived "unit relationship," which will tend to create positive sentiments. Research on "ingroup bias" effects has provided a considerable amount of evidence that perceived unit relations lead to greater liking for members of the unit (or group) and possibly Tess liking for those who are not members of the unit (cf. Brewer, 1979; Brewer and Kramer, 1985~. A striking finding of research on this "ingroup bias" effect is that the group boundaries may be based on trivial or even arbitrary criteria, and shill lead to ingroup bias. For example, an individual who has been (arbitrarily) characterized as an overestimator of dots will tend to rate other overestimators more positively than one who has been characterized as an underestimator (Tajfel, 1970~. Even when the group membership is randomly determined through a lottery procedure, individuals tend to rate ingroup members more favorably (Bil~ig, 1973; Bi1lig and Tajfel, 1973; Crocker et al., in press; Cracker and Schwartz, 1985; Locksley et al., 1980; Rabble and Horwitz,
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8 1969). Thus, a sense of ingroup vs. outgroup, or "unit relation," may be created by matching people on virtually any attribute, however trivial. In summary, many types of similarity, but especially attitude similarity, lead to increased attraction under most circumstances. The relationship between similarity and attraction is probably multiply determined (Huston and Levinger, 1976~. Effects of Liking on Influence We have just reviewed evidence that matching of personal attributes, especially attitudes, leads to increased attraction for the person doing the matching. We now turn to the issue of whether this attraction increases that person's influence. Several theories predict that attractive others are more persuasive (McGuire, 1985~. For example, Kelman's (1961) analysis of social influence processes suggests two mechanisms. First, to the extent that one party likes another, the other has the power to punish the first by withdrawing from the relationship. This power may induce compliance in the first party--that is, he does what the other wants him to do (or what he thinks the other wants him to do) because he sees this as a way to elicit a desired response from the other. Second, to the extent that a party likes another, that party may identify
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9 with the other and accept influence because of this identification. In other words, the individual may derive some satisfying part of his self-concept through his relationship with the other. This may lead him to accept influence as a way of maintaining this desired relationship, and consequently the desired self-concept. For example, whereas I may comply with the law because it has the power to punish me, I may accede to the influence of my mentor because my relationship to her comprises an important, and valued, part of my self-concept. Heider's (1958) balance theory also suggests that liked others will be more persuasive, because a system is balanced if we share the attitudes of those we like. Empirical evidence that liking increases influence has been provided in several studies (Eagly and Chaiken, 1975; Sampson and Insko, 1964; Schuler, 1982; Tannenbaum, 1956~. Attractive communicators are particularly influential when they advocate undesirable positions (Eagly and Chaiken, 1975~. Early and Chaiken have argued that this is because attractive communicators are not expected to advocate undesirable positions, giving them more credibility when they do. Attractive communicators are also more influential when the arguments in a message are weak (Brandstatter et al., 1982~. In other words, the attractiveness of the communicator matters more when the communicator's case is on shaky ground or has a relatively low chance of persuading the recipient.
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lo When does the attractiveness of a communicator matter and what are its effects relative to the effects of the quality of the arguments themselves? In their elaboration likelihood model, Petty and Cacioppo (1981, 1986) have proposed a theory of the circumstances under which source characteristics may be more important than the quality of the arguments themselves. They suggest that persuasion may occur by one of two routes, which they call the central route and the peripheral route. Persuasion by the central route essentially means that recipients attend to the quality of the arguments presented. If the arguments are sound and convincing, then persuasion takes place. If they are weak, the recipient will not be persuaded. Persuasion by the peripheral route refers to the effects on persuasion by variables other than the quality of the arguments presented. For example, when message recipients are affected by the characteristics of the source of the message, then persuasion by the peripheral route is said to have occurred. According to Petty and Cacioppo (1981, 1986), persuasion occurs via the central route when recipients are involved in the the contents of the message, that is, when the message has personal consequences for them. Persuasion occurs by the peripheral route when they are uninvolved, that is, when the message does not have personal consequences for them. For example, in one study students were presented arguments supporting a comprehensive exam
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11 requirement at their university (Petty et al., 1981). For subjects in the high involvement condition, this policy would be put in place the following year, and therefore would affect the subjects themselves. For subjects in the low involvement condition, the policy would be instituted several years after they graduated. For subjects in the high involvement condition, the quality and number of arguments presented determined their agreement with the message, but source characteristics had no effect. For subjects in the low involvement condition, the credibility of the source of the message, but not the quality of the arguments, determined agreement. In a similar study (Petty et al., 1983), under conditions of low involvement, the reputation of the source of a message affected persuasion; but under conditions of high involvement only argument quality affected persuasion. In a study directly relevant to the issue of source likeability, Chaiken (1980) found that a likeable source was more persuasive than an unlikeab~e source when subjects were low in involvement, but not when subjects were high in involvement. Chaiken's theoretical account of these effects differs in some ways from Petty and Cacioppo's elaboration likelihood model, but is generally consistent with the hypothesis that source characteristics influence persuasion only when the recipients of a message are low in involvement ~ see Chaiken and Stangor, 1986, for a discussion of the differences between the two models).
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86 FOOTNOTES 1The letters in the matrix on the right stand for the following words (Rapoport and Chammah, 1965): R = reward, S = sticker Is payoff, T = temptation' P = penalty. 2More precisely, reciprocity is a sensible strategy for party to adopt in the PD because of the following four features of the game (party is viewed as the column player and other as the row player in this analysis): (a) P > S; hence other cannot be expected to be content with a CD' outcome, which means that T' is only briefly attainable if at all. (b) R' > P' and R' > S'. (c) T > R; hence R' is not attainable by simply choosing C' . (d) R > P; hence other will prefer CC' over DD'. These features define a PD for other, since they imply T > R > P > S. They define a broader set of games for party (all games in which R' > PI and Rt > S') J including PD/ chicken, standard instrumental conditioning paradigms, and several others. 3Earlier notions that punishment is largely ineffective at suppressing responses have been shown to be erroneous (Hulse et al., 1980~.
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87 4This-model is related to the goal/expectation model developed by Pruitt and Kimmel (1980). The latter model holds that people cooperate when they develop (a) the goal of achieving mutual cooperation and (b) trust that the other party will reciprocate cooperation. The link is that the goal of achieving mutual cooperation can be viewed as an outcome of valuing the opponent's cooperation (condition 3) and believing that the opponent cannot be exploited (condition 2~. Trust is condition 1. 5It is interesting to note that both actor and target were in the same hurting stalemate in these periods. Hence, it can be argued that a hurting stalemate encourages resort to unilateral initiatives as well as reciprocity to these initiatives. This suggests that hostile relationships are particularly likely to improve when both parties are experiencing a hurting stalemate at the same time.