“Great Minds Think Alike”: notions of homophily and perceived attitude congruency among friends

Singh, Kiran (2012). “Great Minds Think Alike”: notions of homophily and perceived attitude congruency among friends Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Singh, Kiran
Thesis Title “Great Minds Think Alike”: notions of homophily and perceived attitude congruency among friends
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-17
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Julie Duck
Total pages 79
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary It is often asserted that “great minds think alike” yet empirical studies present interesting findings, a more appropriate claim it seems, may be that, “great minds think they think alike”. This is the focus of the present study. Specifically, are there differences between real and perceived attitude agreement? If so, what are the factors that govern the extent to which one may perceive attitude agreement? We adapted Goel, Mason and Watt’s (2010) methodology by conducting two separate network surveys to assess extant differences amongst friends (N = 237 of which 83 had complete response dyads/pairs). Our conceptualization of perceived and actual attitude agreement was also derived from their research, specifically, for a complete response dyad (e.g., x, y, z) perceived attitude agreement was conceptualized as x’s beliefs about y’s answers to z and actual attitude agreement was quantified as the likelihood that two friends agree (x, y) agree on a given issue (z) with difference computed as the probability that a respondent x predicts that their friend y employs the same attitude as themselves regarding issue z. We also adapted elements of Davis and Rusbult’s (2001) methodology to examine the individual effects of centrality, strength of unit relationship and perceived similarity on perceived attitude agreement - a unique extension to the extant literature. Although a predominately homophilous network emerged, in that friends tended to agree, the evidence also suggests considerable disagreement amongst friends persists. Much of what our respondents “knew” about their friends did not derive mainly from discussion. Unbeknownst even to our survey respondents, the underlying psychological mechanism of social projection underpinned their perceptions with perceived similarity governing its use. Significant effects for centrality and the unit relationship also emerged for the predictive model. The justification and associated results yield implications for dynamics of political discourse, subtleties of social interaction and theories of interpersonal influence in general.
Keyword Homophily
Perceived attitude congruency

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Created: Fri, 08 Mar 2013, 11:13:45 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology