Social affiliation is sufficient to provoke the partner-advantage

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The partner-advantage is a type of identity-priority processing that we afford to a person with whom we perform a task together 1. The partner-advantage has been revealed by shortened reaction time (RT) and enhanced accuracy when participants learned to match a shape with an associated name. It is distinguished from other long-lasting and robust identity advantages (e.g., self-advantage and friend-advantage) by its instantaneous build-up and quick reduction; however, its characteristics and enabling factors remain unknown. The present study addresses these questions. In Experiment 1, we replicated the partner-advantage in a solo shape-name matching task (i.e., without a social component) in which other identity biases are usually reported. In Experiment 2, an absent partner (who did not appear physically) was sufficient to induce beneficial partner-related processing, with a temporary partner enjoying a benefit similar to that of significant others. In Experiment 3, an identity low in socially affiliated significance (e.g., another participant in the same experiment) did not automatically enjoy a priority bias. Taken together, our results suggest that the bias toward partners, similar to other known identity biases, does not require physical presence to build and maintain a referential advantage. The partner-advantage does not automatically extend to other social affiliations, and a joint task is not a pre-requisite to produce the bias. Our study offers new insights on identity-referential processing and its underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21293
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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