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Accentuate the Negative: The Positive Effects of Negative Acknowledgment

Andrew Ward and Lyle Brenner
Psychological Science
Vol. 17, No. 11 (Nov., 2006), pp. 959-962
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064487
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Accentuate the Negative: The Positive Effects of Negative Acknowledgment
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Abstract

Three studies investigated the capacity of negative acknowledgment, the admission of an unfavorable quality, to elicit relatively positive responses. In Study 1, an acknowledgment that a written paragraph was confusing led individuals to rate the paragraph as clearer than they did when no acknowledgment was offered. In Study 2, a foreign speaker was rated as possessing a clearer voice when he acknowledged his strong accent than when he did not. In Study 3, a hypothetical college applicant's acknowledgment of receiving less than stellar high school grades resulted in a more positive evaluation of those grades. The interpersonal risks and benefits of negative acknowledgment as an impression-management strategy are discussed.

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