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Expectation States Theory

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Definition: Expectation states theory is an approach to understanding how people evaluate other people’s competence in small task groups and the amount of credibility and influence they give them as a result. Central to the theory is the idea that we evaluate people based on two criteria. The first are specific skills and abilities that are relevant to the task at hand, such as prior experience or training. The second are status characteristics such as gender, age, race, education, and physical attractiveness, that encourage people to believe that someone will be superior to others, even though those characteristics play no role in the work of the group.

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