The Power of Liking: Consequences of Interpersonal Attitudes Derived from a Liberalized View of Secondary Reinforcement

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This chapter focuses on the expected consequences of interpersonal attitudes derived from a theoretical position in which persons who evoke attitudes are conceptualized as secondary reinforcers. The intent is to show that interrelated hypotheses regarding consequences can be generated by placing the concept of attitude within a learning theory framework, that a substantial number of empirical relationships can be interpreted as supporting these hypotheses, and that the behavioral effects of interpersonal attraction have far-reaching social implications, making the potential application of verified propositions an enticing possibility. The chapter proposes a number of expectations for the behavior of individuals when liked or disliked persons (or their symbolic representations) are present either prior to, during, or contingent upon the behavior. It illustrates by reference to data on human behavior that findings relevant to the effects of differential liking for persons by one another can be systematized and explained by the general behavior principles relating to secondary reinforcers and that interpersonal attitudes affect a wide variety of socially significant behavior. The chapter discusses the areas of applicability of the power of liking. © 1972, Academic Press Inc.

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Advances in Experimental Social Psychology