The Relationship Between Self-Monitoring and Successful Ingratiation
Johnson, Mark B.
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According to self-monitoring theory, high self-monitors should be more skilled at self-presentation than low self-monitors. Research has shown that high self-monitors do possess skills ostensibly related to self-presentation, but there is no empirical evidence that they are any better at achieving self-presentation goals. Conversely, the selfpresentation literature has identified self-presentation strategies that do facilitate achieving interpersonal goals. One component of self-presentation skill, therefore, may involve knowing what strategy to use in achieving self-presentation success. This research examines the self-presentation strategies used by high and low self-monitors in their attempt to achieve the goal of being liked. Previous research has found that presenting one's positive interpersonal qualities tend to increase liking, whereas presenting one's abilities and achievements tend to reduce liking. It was hypothesized that when faced with the goal of being liked, high selfmonitors, more so than low self-monitors, would choose to emphasize their positive interpersonal qualities and to be modest in presenting their achievements. It was hypothesized further that the selection of self-presentation strategies would have actual interpersonal consequences. It was predicted that the presentation of positive interpersonal qualities would increase liking, whereas the promotion of abilities and achievements would decrease liking. Three studies were conducted to test these hypotheses. In two studies, high and low self-monitoring participants fabricated personality descriptions they believed another person would like very much. Contrary to prediction, high self-monitors promoted abilities and achievements more extensively than low self-monitors. In a third study designed to examine self-monitors' expectations regarding different self-presentation strategies, high self-monitors believed that promoting abilities would lead to greater liking than did low self-monitors. Results indicated that presentations that extolled interpersonal qualities did produce greater liking than did presentations that extolled achievements and abilities. Thus, high self-monitors did not use the self-presentational strategy that was more likely to succeed. The implications of the findings are discussed.