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The Effects of Prior Knowledge and Stealing Thunder on Interpersonal Social Attraction

Williams, Kathrine A
Committee Members: 
Dr. Michael Kotowski
August 2011

Abstract:  This study first examines the effectiveness of stealing thunder in increasing the target’s liking for the discloser. The study further inspects liking relative to the amount of information known about the discloser prior to their initial interaction. Additionally, the target’s perception of the negativity of the information revealed is observed. 120 subjects participated in an experiment during which they were either exposed to the negative information via the confederate or the experimenter or were not exposed at all. Results, although interesting, were largely inconsistent with the hypotheses. This could have been due to several factors namely, poor experimental execution and unreliability of measurement. However, stealing th under, with further testing, has several implications for the current state of the stealing thunder literature and future research.