Trusz, Sawomir and Przemysaw Babel (Eds.). Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Expectancies.
This collection provides an overview of psychological and social psychological research dealing with expectancies. "Expectancy" refers to those things that people presume will happen, often based on prior experience or on self-confidence, with perhaps the most well known instance emerging out of medical research--the placebo effect. However, as the editors point out, expectancies touch many different areas, not only psychology but also communication through various interpersonal interactions. The editors have divided their collection into two parts: the first examining intrapersonal expectancies; these squarely fall under the research areas of psychology and attempt to explain human behavior through different cognitive processing; the second, addressing interpersonal expectancy, as these explain how people influence one another's behavior.
To give a sense of how expectancy might operate, the editors, in their introductory chapter, describe one theoretical approach to intra-personal expectancy. They write that Reis
proposed an expectancy model of the effect of classical conditioning on human fear. According to the model, what is learned in classical conditioning is an expectation regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence of the unconditional stimulus. From this perspective, fear is in part a function of the expectancy of fear as well as fear reduction may be the effect of changing the expectancy of its occurrence. This conception may be recognized as a link between stimulus expectancies and intra-personal expectancies. (p. 5)
This description highlights many of the important aspects of expectancy, particularly as researchers theorize it in an individual. Some (usually external) stimulus triggers the expectancy and then it affects the individual's response. Understanding expectancy forms the subject of the book.
Each of the chapters of the book summarizes a different aspect of expectancy. The editors explain the approach:
We asked the contributors to prepare review chapters on the topics that they have been studying extensively, integrating them into four main issues--i.e., (1) the beginnings (genesis) of the research (what and why the authors wanted to know about intra- and/or interpersonal expectancy effects); (2) the current state of the art (what is already known about intra- and/or interpersonal expectancy effects); (3) the future directions of the research (what the authors still want to know about intra- and/or interpersonal expectancy effects); and (4) the applications of the results (how can we apply the results of the authors' research on intra- and/or interpersonal expectancy effects?). (p. 10)
The first part of the book, on intrapersonal expectancies, consists of eight chapters. Irving Kirsch (Chapter 2) writes about response expectancy. This expectancy arises from within an organism and in some ways describes what an individual might expect to occur in a given situation. Kirsch describes the current knowledge of this area and the research, in particular studies on the placebo effect. He also offers various clinical applications. In Chapter 3, Michael Hyland ("The story of motivational concordance") offers a complement to the prior chapter, examining the various kinds of treatments that might have explained expectancy and in particular the cognitive role of motivation. After sketching a number of studies, Hyland points out that this theoretical framework still needs testing. He asks, for example, what kind of information would the various inputs that the body receives form in order to create an expectation.
James Maddux ("Self-Efficacy") begins by defining self efficacy as "people's beliefs about their ability to produce desired outcomes through their own actions" (p. 41). He points out such efficacy's importance because it allows people not only to predict responses within their own environment but also to bring them about. Here he refers to the research of Albert Bandura in examining behavioral change and describes a number of applications of these theories for psychological health and physical health, self-regulation, education, and improving work situations.
A specific kind of intra-personal expectancy arises with hypnosis. Jessica Baltman and Steven Jay Lynn ("Hypnosis, memory, and expectations") write that, although many feel hypnosis provides a helpful way to describe or recall memories, the research over the last 30 years has indicated that "memory is reconstructive and memories elicited during hypnosis are less likely or no more likely to be accurate than recollections reported when hypnosis is not employed" (p. 47). Their discussion indicates directions for future research to test different approaches to hypnosis.
Intrapersonal expectancy does provide people a way to regulate their own experiences. Chapter 6, "Generalized expectancies for negative mood regulation: Development, assessment, and implications of a construct" (Salvatore J. Catanzaro and Jack Mearns) introduces how the process might work in terms of moods. The authors have a particular interest in regulating negative moods and report various kinds of behavioral performances under stress or distress. They call for future research in dealing with other specific emotions and in cross cultural situations. They also identify some interpersonal consequences of displaying negative emotion or negative mood, pointing out the importance of people's ability to regulate their negative emotions.
Several chapters deal with specific kinds of expectation and self-regulation. Peter S. Hendricks and Thomas H. Brandon look at smoking related expectancy in Chapter 7. Madalina Sucala, Julie Schnur, and Guy H. Montgomery review the impact of expectancy on cancer care in Chapter 8. They examine both the individual's response to the cancer treatments as well as how the individual might manage pain based on their expectancies from the ways in which their medical teams prepare them. In the last chapter of Part I, Zev M. Medoff and Luana Colloca provide an overview of the current research on the placebo effect. Much of the research they report deals with pain management or with the experience of pain. They provide a rather detailed psychoneurobiological model of how the effect might work.
Though focused on social psychology, the second part of the book, dealing with interpersonal expectancies, will hold more interest for communication researchers and students. In the preface to this part of the book, Lee Jussim offers a brief history of some of the research about interpersonal expectation, ranging from Merton's propos al about self-fulfilling prophecies to Rosenthal's contributions (the "Pygmalion" study of teachers' expectations affecting young student outcomes) and Brophy and Good's more comprehensive book on student-teacher relationships. The 11 chapters in this part of the volume range from those kinds of student-teacher expectations to more broadly social interactions.
Mark Snyder ("When and why do expectations create reality? Reflections on behavioral confirmation in social interaction") reviews work on how expectations influence the kinds of social interactions that people have. This could describe anything from the simple procedure of two people meeting and drawing initial conclusions about one another to more detailed interactions in long-term relationships. Snyder writes, "This 'behavioral confirmation' scenario (so named because the target's behavior comes to confirm the perceiver's expectations in the course of their social interaction) has been demonstrated for a wide range of expectations (including beliefs about personality, ability, gender, and race) and a variety of interaction contexts (including relatively unstructured interactions such as initial getting-acquainted conversations between strangers, as well as relatively structure interactions such as those between teachers and students, supervisors and workers, counselors and clients)" (pp. 89-90). In explaining some of the behaviors, he refers to things like self-fulfilling prophecies and expectations based on past experience of similar situations. These beliefs and expectations do influence people's actions.
Chapter 11 (William B. Swann, Jr. and Jennifer K. Bosson) approach "Identity negotiation in social interaction." They point out a more complex result of expectation: not only do people find their expectations ratified, but interlocutors also negotiate the identity that each wishes to present. Describing the research about this particular phenomenon in human behavior, they write, "whereas personal identities refer to traits and qualities that distinguish individuals from one another (e.g. moody, trustworthy), social identities consist of the roles and group memberships that connect people to similar others" (p. 98). Though seemingly independent, the two kinds of identity expectations can overlap. The authors point out that this kind of negotiation of social identity occurs quite frequently in work settings and other places where people have an expectation of one another and the need to predict one another's behavior.
Steven L. Neuberg explores the role of motivation in "Motivation Matters: The functional context of expectation confirmation processes." In explaining how expectation works, Neuberg suggests that motivation plays a key role, motivation both by the perceiver and by the sender. He summarizes several lines of research in this way "perceiver accuracy motivation alters target behavioral confirmation by altering perceiver information -gathering behaviors" (p. 103). He also suggests that the self-presentational goals that a perceiver has will alter the behavior within the dyad. Similarly, the self-presentational motivation of the target will also play a role in how individuals experience the interaction as expectations are developed.
Lee Jussim and Sean T. Stevens (Chapter 13) address the question "why accuracy dominates self-fulfilling prophecies and bias." They trace the beginnings of research on expectancy to social settings, noting:
Self-fulfilling prophecies occur when initially erroneous beliefs lead to their own fulfillment.... When a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs, the target person actually behaves in a manner that confirms the originally false expectation. In contrast, expectancy bias refers to social beliefs that influence or distort subjective perceptions and judgments. Expectancy biases change the image of social reality in the perceiver's own mind, without changing the target's actual behavior. (p. 110)
The back and forth between the expectation and the behavior should eventually lead to accuracy. But self-fulfilling prophecies can be touched by bias. The research tradition looks at expectancies within various situations, particularly school studies (as first indicated by the Pygmalion study). The authors note that the current research suggests some difficulties in connecting expectation to self-fulfilling prophecies. They point to that meta-analyses that show that, for example, "replications of some of the most classic studies of self-fulfilling prophecy or expectancy-induced bias have often failed." "The biasing affects of expectations and stereotypes on person perception hover barely above zero, making stereotype and expectancy biases one of the smallest effects in a field characterized by generally modest effects" (p. 112). From this they construct a set of suggestions for future research on looking at the role of bias and accuracy in measuring self-fulfilling prophecies.
Jennifer Willard, Stephanie Madon explore "Understanding the connections between self-fulfilling prophecies and social problems." The line of research they describe seeks confirmation of Merton's hypothesis, but also investigates whether the prevalence of self fulfilling prophecy could lead to social problems. The authors propose that with relatively small effects, this may not be the case. They did discover that "some people are more susceptible to self-fulfilling prophecies than others" and that "self-fulfilling prophecy effects can accumulate" over time and across people (pp. 118-119). In the future, they hope to sort out how these things occur, commenting that too much of the prior research has focused on dyadic relationships where more needs to investigate group interactions where these effects may be more powerful.
Several of the chapters in this section explain or extend the Pygmalion effect, that is how teachers' expectations can affect student performance. Elisha Babad ("Pygmalion, and the classroom, after 50 years") returns to teacher expectation studies to retest the original hypothesis. He finds that a review of the literature and renewed studies show that:
Teachers indeed demonstrate substantial differential behavior in their classrooms.... 2. TDB [Teacher differential behavior] is reliably perceived and reported by the classroom students. ... 3. Teachers often compensate low-expectancy students with "learning support" but they transmit more negative emotions and lower "emotional support" to the students. (p. 126)
Babad suggests a number of ways to test the phenomenon, including laboratory experiments versus classroom experiments and including measures of the magnitude of the teacher effect. The next chapter by Rhona S. Weinstein explores children's awareness of differential treatment in the classroom and the effects of this might have on expectation fulfillment. She proposes a "child mediated model of teacher expectancy effects" (p. 135) and goes on to propose the contextual factors within these kinds of situations, especially those that might moderate teacher expectations. Charles K. West ("Individual differences in response to expectations") explores another aspect of the classroom. Just as children may be aware of the teachers' expectations, we also need to consider how children may respond differently based on individual differences. Christine Rubie-Davies works in another piece of this complex set of variables and investigates differences among teachers, what she terms "high and low expectation teachers" (p. 145). The effect of teacher expectation on students depends, to some extent, on what teachers actually expect. Rubie-Davis describes an empirical project with various paired groups that should help to gauge the effect of each factor. Finally, in the last chapter dealing with the Pygmalion effect, Hester de Boer, Anneke C. Timmermans, and Margaretha P. C. Van der Werf explore inaccurate teacher expectations. Interested in long-term effects of teacher expectancies on student performance, they use a case study drawn from the Dutch school system to measure and track the effect.
The final chapter of the book ("Expectancy effects: An attempt to integrate intra- and interpersonal perspectives") has Babel and Trusz, the editors, looking at ways in which these two parts of the tradition might work together to increase our knowledge about how expectancy effects function. The chapter lists some characteristics of the effect (process initiation, personal qualities of the perceiver and target, cognitive schemas, various mediations, and so on). The authors then sketch out two models: from intrapersonal to interpersonal expectancies and from interpersonal to intrapersonal expectancies.
The book, largely focused upon psychological research, will benefit communication scholars more from the part of the book looking at interpersonal expectation effects. Though the focus of the book, even in the interpersonal area, tends to stay close to the origins of self-fulfilling prophecy work and the related psychological experiments (especially the school experiments), the volume does offer helpful background for some communication research. Any interpersonal communication study should be aware of these kinds of affects which form a normal part of human interaction. Given the fact that much communication research simply takes this for granted and never explicitly factors it into its own study, the book could provide a helpful corrective.
This book would be a good introduction to expectation effects, though probably of greater use to faculty or graduate students. The book itself contains end notes and references with each chapter, but a common author and subject index.
--Paul A. Soukup, S.J.
Santa Clara University