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The acquaintance process

Author(s): Newcomb TM

Abstract

Ideas, like individuals and nations, have histories, and so do the research enterprises that sometimes stem from ideas. The history of the research that is reported in the following pages is mainly one of indebtedness. The 34 men who, week after week, faithfully provided the bricks of information out of which this monograph is constructed were, of course, my principal benefactors. Not one of them ever lapsed, for even a single week, and my debt to them is most inadequately repaid by sending each of them a standard model of this monograph. The writing of a research report, too, has its own history, and in the writing of this one I came to the conclusion that it would be a bare-boned research report, together with only such theoretical connective tissue as in fact inspired the initial planning of the research. The reader will find that I have sometimes oscillated between the reporting of tests of theoretically derived prediction and the presenting of exploratory findings. Insofar as the latter are interesting or significant, I have no apology to make for them--especially as one who has often criticized students who, in their eagerness to find support for cherished hypotheses, ignore serendipidous findings. The phenomena of getting acquainted, like most others which one studies intimately for a period of years, are full of interesting surprises, and none of us is capable of anticipating all of them.

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