Formality of signature as an index of subject motivation in the psychological experiment

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Clyde Hendrick
Joe Vincenzo
Cheryl Nelson
Cite this article:  Hendrick, C., Vincenzo, J., & Nelson, C. (1975). Formality of signature as an index of subject motivation in the psychological experiment. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 3(1), 1-4.


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The psychological experiment has been characterized by Orne as a formal role situation which participants take seriously. Increased seriousness may be reflected in many behaviors, even in the way in which one signs one’s name. Initial signup names and signatures within the experiment proper were available for
2 group rating experiments. Analyses showed that 22% of all participants used different versions of their signature for the 2 occasions. Of this sample of changers 88% used a signature in the experiment that was more formal than their signup signature. These data were interpreted as in line with Orne’s theorizing.

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