Effects of an Academic Expectancy and Gender on Students' Interactions


Expectancies regarding academic performance were manipulated in unacquainted peers to determine their effect on children's subsequent dyadic interaction. Eighteen male and 17 female dyads aged 7 to 12 performed two tasks together and then separately completed questionnaires about their impressions of each other. One member of each dyad was led to believe that his or her partner was either smart or not smart. Results showed that the manipulation directly affected the children given the expectancy, in that perceivers in the "smart" expectancy condition felt that the targets were smarter and that they worked together better than did perceivers in the "not smart" condition. Perceivers in the "not smart" condition were more controlling in the interaction. The expectancy also impacted on the target subjects, who deferred more to the perceivers (i.e., asked more questions and agreed more) in the "not smart" than in the "smart" expectancy condition. Gender had a negligible influence because boys and girls did not respond differentially to the expectancy manipulations.

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