Social Network Size: The Effect of Construal Priming on Social Groups

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Bacev-Giles, Chantal




Four studies examined how people group their relationships with other people and how social groups are structured. Study 1 provided a baseline for the number and types of social groups that individuals construct as their social network. Studies 2 and 3 examined whether construal mindset changes the way people sort their relationships. I expected that individuals adopting an abstract mindset would report having fewer, more vague social groups (e.g., "friends”), compared to those adopting a concrete mindset, who would report more, specific groups (e.g., "school friends"). Results
suggested that construal mindset did not affect social group structures. As a follow-up on this unexpected result, a comparison of the effect of construal on social-groups-sorting versus household-object-sorting confirmed that construal mindset’s influence might simply not extend to cognition about social groups (Study 4). Together, these studies suggest that while social group structures are malleable they are not significantly shifted by construal mindset.


Social psychology.




Carleton University

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