Does sincerity matter? An empirical test

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David E. Shapiro
Cite this article:  Shapiro, D. (1981). Does sincerity matter? An empirical test. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 1(1), 9-12.


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I conducted 2 experiments to test the hypothesis that participants who are given more (vs. less) sincere reinforcement will achieve criterion behavior sooner or more completely, and also tested for the Greenspoon effect. In each experiment, assistants’ biases were measured and they were then asked to reinforce participants’ responses under conditions where that reinforcement was either congruent or incongruent with the identified biases. Assistants’ effectiveness under these 2 conditions was determined by measuring the shift in participants’ responses from baseline values. In Experiment 1, 20 assistants reinforced designated responses by 40 participants to a 40-item questionnaire. Results supported a sincerity effect but not the Greenspoon effect. The results of Experiment 2 were nonsignificant, which I attribute to the use of a design resulting in less assistant–participant communication.

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