Perceptions of intelligence in leaderless groups: the dynamic effects of shyness and acquaintance.


Perceptions of intelligence were investigated in 2 longitudinal studies of leaderless discussion groups (LDGs). In Study 1 (N = 87), students completed trait-shyness questionnaires and met 7 times in groups of 4-5. After Meetings 2 and 7, participants rated all group members on state shyness and intelligence. Trait-shy participants were initially judged to be less intelligent on both self- and peer ratings. At Time 2, however, trait-shy participants were no longer derogated by peers. Study 2 (N = 103) replicated the same pattern of shy derogation while demonstrating no actual relation between IQ and trait shyness. Again, trait-shy derogation disappeared by Time 2, but state-shy derogation continued. The state shy were now the low-IQ participants, who had begun to talk less. Thus, the bias against quiet individuals, originally inappropriate, gradually became a valid cue for low intelligence. Results were traced to overlapping cues for intelligence and shyness in LDGs.


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