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Sample Debriefing Statement

Friend Study

In this study, we told you that you would receive a blue sticker and then we would ask you to report about how you felt about the sticker. Instead, we gave you a red sticker and told you that your friend took the last blue sticker.  However, this was not true; your friend didn’t take the last blue sticker. We did not tell you the full nature of the experiment because we wanted to gauge your honest reaction to the news that your friend took your sticker.

Stickers, and the way that friends react to them, provide interesting insights into interpersonal relationships. In previous studies, such as the Milgram Blue study, blue was found to be particularly desirable, thus it was chosen in order to evoke a stronger response. We are interested in learning if there is a correlation between individuals who are more capable of negotiating the lack of a blue sticker and their ability to maintain a friendship.

Please know that your friend was not involved in this study and had nothing to do with the blue sticker. It is important that you do not let this incident become an issue in your relationship. If you feel that you didn’t negotiate the loss of a sticker in a positive way, this may be an opportunity to evaluate your friendship and learn what you can do to better handle this situation should it arise. The “Sticker Group” is an informal friendship counseling group available for UVa students; for more information, see their website: If you have further concerns, please contact the researcher (name, contact information) to discuss any questions about the research. If you have concerns about the way you were treated as a participant in this study, please contact the IRB-SBS: Tonya Moon, Ph.D., Chair, Institutional Review Board for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, One Morton Drive, Suite 500, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 800392, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0392. Telephone: (434) 924-5999.

References: Harper, K., & Gasp, G. L. (2009). Do blue stickers make blue friends? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 790 - 875.

Keen, K., & Garph, M. L. (1871). Where have all the blue stickers gone? How to make friends worth making. Psychological Science, 19, 41-48.

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