Construction of a New Scale: The Reysen Likability Scale

Article excerpt

While much is known about the concept of likability, a single encompassing tool to measure likability has yet to be created. The Reysen Likability Scale measures the degree of likability for a target source. Using the current scale, a total of 150 participants rated 12 individuals who were videotaped while reading a paragraph. Tapes differed with respect to whether the people genuinely laughed, faked their laughter, or did not laugh while reading a paragraph. In the present study, the reliability, and convergent and divergent validity of the new scale were assessed. Coefficient alpha for the current scale ranged from .90 to .91. Laughter predicted higher likability ratings which demonstrated convergent validity. Divergent validity was illustrated using Goldberg's (1992) 100-Adjective Big Five Personality Test. Suggestions for research using the new scale are given.

A great deal of research has been dedicated to the topic of likability. While aspects of what makes a person likeable have been presented, studies have varied in their measurement of the construct. With the use of the current scale, future studies can have a valid and reliable measurement tool with which to study features of likability.

Likability has been labeled a persuasion tactic and a scheme of self-presentation (Cialdini, 1993; Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2002). Aspects that appear to increase likability include physical attractiveness, similarity to ourselves, compliments, and association (Cialdini). Physically attractive individuals have been rated as more talented, kind, honest, and intelligent (for a review see Eagly, Ashmore, Makhijani, & Longo, 1991). Similarity to ourselves increases likability (Byrne, 1971; Carli, Ganley, & Pierce-Otay, 1991; Hogg, Cooper-Shaw, & Holzworth, 1993). Compliments or praise increase likability (Berscheid & Walster, 1978; Byrne & Rhamey, 1965; Drachman, deCarufel, & Insko, 1978).

Though no empirical evidence exists to link likability to laughter, some corroboration has been found. Bachorowski and Owren (2001) played recordings of laughter and had participants rate them on a number of scales including their interest in meeting the person laughing, their support to include the laugh on a laugh track, their affective responses to the laughs, their belief in the laugher's friendliness, and their belief that the person laughing is sexy. Women's voiced laughter was rated more positively than was men's, and men's unvoiced laughter was rated more positively than was women's. Voiced women's laughs were rated sexier and friendlier than was men's laughter (Bachorowski & Owren). This suggests that laughter is associated with aspects of liking.

Likability has been measured in a number of ways. Carli et al. (1991) used three items to measure the construct of likability. Using a 1 to 9 scale, participants rated how satisfied they were with their roommate, how much they liked their roommate, and to what extent they were friends. Drachman, deCarufel, and Insko (1978) used two items to measure likability. Using a 7-point Likert-type scale, participants rated how likeable a person was, and how compatible they were. Byrne (1971) and Byrne and Rhamey (1965) used two items included in the Interpersonal Judgement Scale. Using a 7-point scale participants rated the statements "I feel I would probably like this person" and " I would like working with this person in an experiment". Rubin (1970) used three items included in a scale to measure romantic love. Using a 5-point Likert-type scale participants rated the statements "Most people would react favorably to ___ after a brief acquaintance", " ___ is one of the most likeable people I know", " ____ is the sort of person whom I myself would like to be". For a review of both Rubin's and Byrne's scales see Berscheid and Walster (1978). The above scales are short and may not be a valid measurement of the construct due to their brevity.

In a classic study by Chaiken and Eagly (1983), communicators who were rated as likeable were more effective in achieving attitude change in participants than were unlikeable communicators. …