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Comparing Models of Second-Order Expectations

aUniversity of North Carolina - Charlotte, USA
bKent State University, USA

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-80455-154-7, eISBN: 978-1-80455-153-0

Publication date: 27 October 2022



Second-order expectations refer to an actor's beliefs about what a co-actor believes with respect to their relative abilities on a shared task. The authors describe and compare three alternative programs of research that explain the effects of second-order expectations on behavioral inequalities in task groups. The authors’ overall goal is to work toward improving the precision and generality of theories of second-order expectations.


The authors conduct a thorough review of theory and research on each of the three alternative models of second-order expectations. In so doing, they highlight areas of convergence and divergence in terms of theory, method, and empirical support. They also suggest research designs that can help clarify the effects of second-order expectations in task groups and adjudicate among the models.

Research implications

New empirical studies are needed that attempt to replicate findings across the three approaches to modeling second-order expectations. In addition, the three approaches need to be directly compared at the same time using a shared experimental design and the same participant population.


This is the first effort to systematically and critically compare and contrast three competing models of second-order expectations in structural social psychology. The authors offer a number of original, specific recommendations for future research.



Walker, L.S., Kalkhoff, W. and Webster, M. (2022), "Comparing Models of Second-Order Expectations", Kalkhoff, W., Thye, S.R. and Lawler, E.J. (Ed.) Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 119-135.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Lisa Slattery Walker, Will Kalkhoff and Murray Webster Jr.. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited