The password is praise: content of feedback affects categorization of feedback sources.
British Journal of Social Psychology
Copyright © 2013 The British Psychological Society. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Rabinovich, A., Morton, T. A., Landon, E., Neill, C., Mason-Brown, S. and Burdett, L. (2014), The password is praise: Content of feedback affects categorization of feedback sources. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53: 484–500. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12041, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjso.12041/full. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
In three experimental studies, we investigated the effect of the content of group-directed feedback on categorization of the feedback source as an ingroup or an outgroup member. In all studies, feedback valence (criticism vs. praise) and the attributional content of feedback (attributing outcomes to internal properties of the group vs. external circumstances) were experimentally manipulated. The results demonstrated that anonymous (Study 1) and ambiguous (Studies 2 and 3) sources of feedback are more likely to be seen as (typical) ingroup members when they provide praise rather than criticism. In addition, in all studies there was a significant interaction between valence and the attributional content of feedback, such that sources of praise were more likely to be seen as ingroup members when they attributed the group's success to internal (rather than external) causes, while the opposite was observed for critics. These effects were mediated by perceived group image threat. Implications for research on group-based feedback and social categorization are discussed.
Vol. 53, Iss. 3, September 2014, pp. 484 - 500
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