Title

Accentuate The Negative: The Positive Effects Of Negative Acknowledgment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2006

Published In

Psychological Science

Abstract

Three studies investigated the capacity of negative acknowledgment, the admission of an unfavorable quality, to elicit relatively positive responses. In Study 1, an acknowledgment that a written paragraph was confusing led individuals to rate the paragraph as clearer than they did when no acknowledgment was offered. In Study 2, a foreign speaker was rated as possessing a clearer voice when he acknowledged his strong accent than when he did not. In Study 3, a hypothetical college applicant's acknowledgment of receiving less than stellar high school grades resulted in a more positive evaluation of those grades. The interpersonal risks and benefits of negative acknowledgment as an impression-management strategy are discussed.

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