Relational Self-Construal and the Process of Forming New Relationships

Shawn Butcher,
Dr. Jonathan S. Gore*,
Eastern Kentucky University

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Abstract: The present study examined the relationship between relational self-construal and the types of questions and answers that an individual gives upon first meeting another person. We predicted that a participant’s relational self-construal would positively correlate with the amount of relational questions asked and negatively with the amount of superficial questions asked, as well as positively correlating with word count, relational answers, and emotional answers. A negative correlation between participant’s relational self-construal and factual answers was also predicted. One hundred fourteen participants were asked to select 10 questions from a list of questions that would allow them to get to know someone. Participants then either worked alone or with a partner during which time they asked and recorded the answers given. Participants’ questions were evaluated as being either superficial or relational and answers were evaluated as being emotional, relational, or factual. The results yielded no support between an individual’s relational self-construal and the types of questions asked; however, relational self-construal was positively associated with the amount of emotional and relational answers given and negatively associated with factual answers.

Introduction: Upon meeting someone for the first time, people are exposed to several key aspects of that person’s personality. These aspects form the basis of how people view each other or gain a first impression of them. The importance of a first impression does not go unnoticed, as this is the best opportunity for persons to showcase the most important aspects of their personalities. What then do people showcase in these exchanges, and how do individuals come to know one another at their first meeting? The present study investigated how self-construal influences these encounters.

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