Is it Possible to Appear Less Lazy? Disclaimer Efficacy in Social Interaction

Natasha N. Riard, Max Jory


This study investigated the effectiveness of a laziness disclaimer in forestalling negative impressions, as well as the underlying mechanisms behind disclaimer backfiring. A sample of 180 primarily Asian participants completed questionnaires that assessed the effects of disclaimer use on laziness perceptions, liking, and general positive impressions, as well as three mechanisms (priming, thought suppression rebound, and confirmation bias) that could explain disclaimer inefficacy. The laziness disclaimer had no significant effects on perceptions of laziness, suggesting that disclaimers may not actually forestall negative retypification. Furthermore, disclaimer use, compared to no disclaimer use, had significant negative effects on liking and other positive impressions when it preceded a subsequent lazy statement. Confirmation bias most strongly explained why disclaimers do not work. The results of this study suggest that disclaimers do not fulfill their intended purpose of preventing negative perceptions because they provide trait information that enables individuals to make shortcuts to impression-formation.

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