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Self-touching behavior in the job interview: Antecedents and consequences

Abstract

This study examined self-touching behavior in a simulated employment interview. Four male and four female interviewers each met with four applicants (four male and four female) under two different conditions of formality (informal and formal). Results showed that sex composition of the dyad, status within the dyad, and situational formality could dramatically affect the frequency and location of self-touching. In examining self-touching as a predictor of interpersonal outcomes and hiring decisions, it was found that male interviewers rated applicants more favorably than did female interviewers, and both male and female interviewers engaged in more foot touching while conducting interviews leading to a favorable hiring decision. The striking number of results with large effect sizes suggests that self-touching may be an important but neglected variable in social interaction.

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This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation. Part of this research was presented at a meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association held April, 1984, in Baltimore, Maryland. We would like to thank Roger Brown for his insightful comments, Tanna Lee for her tireless efforts in collecting and organizing the data, and Stephen Thayer for his helpful suggestions on earlier drafts.

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Goldberg, S., Rosenthal, R. Self-touching behavior in the job interview: Antecedents and consequences. J Nonverbal Behav 10, 65–80 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987206

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987206

Keywords

  • Social Interaction
  • Social Psychology
  • Large Effect Size
  • Female Interviewer
  • Hiring Decision