ABSTRACT: Social Validation of Shared and Nonvalidation of Unshared Information in Group Discussions
Research on information sharing within groups confirms a favoring of shared compared to unshared information. Social validation is considered to be the primary psychological mechanism explaining this group bias (Wittenbaum, Hubbell, & Zuckerman, 1999). Our focus here is on a process-related measurement of the social validation of shared information, as well as the social nonvalidation of unshared information in the discussion protocols of 31 decision-making groups. Results confirmed that mentioning shared information evoked social validations, whereas mentioning unshared information evoked nonvalidations (H1). Contrary to our expectation that social validation would encourage the repetition of shared information and social nonvalidation would discourage the repetition of nonshared information (H2), we found that nonvalidation of information enhanced the probability of repetition. We conclude that the need for social validation found in face-to-face groups can be overcome in a more task-oriented, goal-focused, and depersonalized media-based communication setting such as the one in this study.