The purpose of the study was to examine more systematically the nature and structure of the social interaction objectives that individuals pursue in their everyday social relations. A pilot study was conducted to obtain a set of naturalistic social goals. Subjects in two studies were given the task of classifying these goals according to their similarities, and multidimensional scaling analyses were conducted in order to examine the dimensionality of subjects' cognitive representations of their social goals. In study one, 70 undergraduates from Ohio State University were asked to suggest the social goals they most often pursue in their interactions with others. Subjects identified and labeled 20 social goals, which were then grouped by 64 undergraduates from York University. This grouping revealed three goal dimensions: an information versus sociability focus, a self-gain versus relationship focus, and a task versus social manipulation focus. The three-dimensional solution reflected a highly interpretable representation of the dimensions underling subjects' cognitive representations of social interaction objectives. To examine the replicability of the findings in study one, subjects in study two (54 undergraduates from York University) were presented with the same stimuli and task. The ordering of social goals for each of the three dimensions appeared very similar to those obtained in study one. The results of the two studies revealed a highly reliable structure describing subjects' cognitive representations of their social interaction objectives. (LH)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).