Hypothesized that an individual’s reluctance to communicate news that is bad for the recipient (the MUM effect) is partially due to guilt associated with not sharing the other’s fate. A 2 * 2 design (similar vs. dissimilar fate and good vs. bad news for the recipient) was employed. 72 female undergraduates were given the opportunity to communicate under the guise of a “learning experiment.” Each specific prediction was substantiated: Good news was communicated more frequently (p < .05) than bad news; Ss in the bad news-dissimilar fate condition experienced the most guilt, and communicated the news less frequently than either bad news-similar fate S (p < .05) or good news-dissimilar fate Ss (p < .01).
Tesser, A., & Rosen, S. (1972). Similarity of objective fate as a determinant of the reluctance to transmit unpleasant information: The MUM effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23(1), 46-53.