Most recent research activity
I recently had an article accepted for publication at the journal Social Networks with my co-author Joe Labianca, entitled:
Positive and negative tie perceptual accuracy:
Pollyanna principle vs. negative asymmetry explanations.
This paper is based on my research on social network cognition, or people's perceptions of the social relationships around them. Here we examine how people are able to accurately perceive positive compared to negative relationships at work. Long story short, people are much worse at recalling negative relationships (dislike) than positive relationships (friendship). This is the first paper to really delve into this comparison and has ramifications for work in a variety of areas.
Abstract is below:
We examine the affective content of ties and explore whether negative affective tie
content is systematically advantaged or disadvantaged when recalling the social
network as compared to positive affective tie content. We test this in three workgroups
from two organizations and analyze differences in perceptual accuracy comparing
negative and positive affective tie perception. We theorize that ego will be more
accurate for others’ positive than negative ties due to generalized positivity bias, or the
Pollyanna principle. We also theorize that ego will be more accurate for their own
negative ties due to negative asymmetry perspective, as ego will attend more to those
ties that pose a personal threat. Findings suggest that observers were more accurate
overall about their own and others’ positive compared to negative affective ties. We
conclude that the Pollyanna principle is an important factor in explaining perceptions in
naturalistic cognitive networks. Supplementary analysis showed that negative ties were
more likely to be missed and imagined and having a valenced tie toward another
person influences perceptions of that persons’ network ties. Finally, we find that
balanced and imbalanced triads were also important factors of relative accuracy. The
study’s contribution, limitations, and future research are also discussed.