Interrelationships between approval motivation, situational change and defensive reactions
The research project was concerned, at the general level, with the relationship between general defensiveness and (a) defensive strategies, (b) values and expectancies of a set of socially cherished needs, (c) need hierarchies, and (d) a change in the experimental setting. The study was divided into three parts: Part I concentrated on hypotheses relating to the broader relationships (a), (b), and (c). General defensiveness was measured by the Marlowe and Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MC-SDS). The specific defence strategies were assessed by a kind of role play technique referred to as the critical incidents technique (CIs). The values and expectancies of a set of social needs were measured by rating scales. The needs were those highlighted by Rotter whose Social Learning Theory formed the conceptual frame of the research. Part II dealt with (d) - the effect of a situational change, in the form of an alleged IQ session, on a previously expressed defensive profile. Part III involved further extension and elaboration of the findings obtained earlier. A different measure of defence style, the Life Style Index (LSI), was employed in examining the role of anonymity and defensiveness on the individual's perception of his/her response bias in questionnaires. Several differences were noted between the high and low MC-SDS scorers in the three parts of the study. These differences were explained in terms of (1) the tendency of the high MC-DSD scorers (high defensive Ss) to project a favourable image of themselves, and (2) their differential susceptibility to situational change.