Reactions To Receiving Expected And Unexpected Help From A Person Who Violates Or Does Not Violate A Norm

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Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology


Different factors may affect reciprocity and attraction to an aid-giver. Sixty white South African high school students participated in a “record contest”. Hints provided by the quizmaster enabled them to win a prize. His help was expected or unexpected and, in providing this help, the quizmaster either did or did not violate a specific norm against doing so. It was predicted that recipients of unexpected help would display more reciprocity than recipients of expected help, but that the aid-giver would be derogated only when he behaved in both an unexpected and counternormative way and that, in general, attraction and reciprocity would be unrelated. These hypotheses were supported. They suggest that reciprocity is normally not mediated by attraction and that neither expectancy violation nor counternormative behavior will be itself produce derogation of an aid-giver. They further suggest recipients of unexpected help probably feel more obliged to repay an aid-giver than do recipients of expected help.

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