Lecture 3: Communication Flashcards Preview

PSY424H1S: Social Psychology of Relationships with C. Midgley > Lecture 3: Communication > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 3: Communication Deck (53)
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What are the 5 functions of nonverbal communication in relationships?

  • (1) Providing information — a person’s behavior allows others to make inferences about his or her intentions, feelings, traits, and meaning
  • (2) Regulating interaction — nonverbal behavior provides cues that regulate the efficient give-and-take of smooth conversations and other interactions
  • (3) Defining the nature of the relationship — the type of partnership two people share may be evident in their nonverbal behavior
  • (4) Interpersonal influence — goal-oriented behavior designed to influence someone else
  • (5) Impression management — nonverbal behavior that is managed by a person or a couple to create or enhance a particular image


What is self-disclosure and why does it lead to closeness?

  • self-disclosure: the process of revealing personal information to someone else
  • It promotes closeness because:
    • (1) If we’re attracted to others, we tend to be more open with them
    • (2) We tend to like others because we have self-disclosed to them
    • (3) It’s rewarding to be entrusted with self-disclosures from others
  • Compared to those who engage in more superficial small talk, people who have substantive, deep conversations and who make themselves known to others enjoy better health and more satisfaction with life
    • One of the most important communications: tell others you love them, verbally — it’s beneficial to them and to you


What is social penetration theory?

  • social penetration theory: relationships develop through systematic changes in communication
  • People are likely to start off a conversation with superficial topics, but if they find it rewarding, they try to move closer by increasing two aspects of their communication:
    • (1) Its breadth: the variety of topics they discuss, and
    • (2) Its depth: the personal significance of the topics they discuss


What is disclosure reciprocity?

  • disclosure reciprocity: new partners tend to match each other’s level of openness, disclosing more as the other person does, and disclosing less if the other person’s self-disclosure declines
  • Later, pattern of exchange of information is less rigid


When might self-disclosure have negative outcomes?

  • Disclosing highly personal information too early & disclosing to anyone who will listen – viewed negatively about others
  • Can’t make blanket statements about self-disclosure
  • Discussing topics considered off-limits for given stage of relationship (taboo topics)


What are taboo topics and how do they impact relationships?

  • Explicitly or implicitly, partners may agree to steer clear of taboo topics, sensitive matters that, in their opinion, may threaten the quality of their relationship.
    • Curiously, the most common taboo topic is the state of the relationship itself
    • Current and past relations, and sexual experiences, are often avoided
  • The more taboo topics there are in a relationship, the less satisfied the partners are unless they feel that they’re avoiding touchy topics to promote and protect their relationship


What are high openers?

  • high openers: People who are better at drawing more intimate information out from others more quickly
  • Appear more attentive during conversation—gazing and nodding more, and looking interested—and they verbally express more interest in what others are saying
  • They seem to be absorbed by what others have to say, so they tend to be very good interviewers


What is the role of self-disclosure in long-term relationships?

  • In longer-term relationships (LTRs), partners continue to disclose
    • Sometimes something about self the partner does not know
    • But more often about daily experiences and future aspirations
    • Both are important
  • Responses to these disclosures can foster intimacy and encourage future disclosures
    • OR can undermine connection and discourage future disclosures


What is Reis & Patrick’s (1996) intimacy process model (or interpersonal model of intimacy)?

(1) Meaningful self-disclosure — characterized by authenticity, openness, and honesty

(2) Respond to each with interest and empathy

(3) Perceived partner responsiveness — your partner judges you as being responsive


What is the interpersonal gap?

  • interpersonal gap: when the sender’s intentions differ from the effect on the receiver


What is responsiveness and what are its 3 components?

  • responsiveness: attentive and supportive recognition of one person’s needs and interests by another
  • Measured via partner self-report as perceived partner responsiveness
    • There isn’t an “objectively correct” responsive interaction – there’s worse way to do it than others, but it’s important that the other person thinks you did a good job
  • 3 components:
    • Feeling understood – this is particularly important
      • We have to listen with the intent to understand
    • Go beyond the superficial meaning (read between the lines, notice facial expressions and tone)
      • Ask questions to encourage elaboration and check your own assumptions about what they feel
    • Feeling valued, respected, and validated
      • Validation of our partners that acknowledges the legitimacy of their opinions and communicates respect for their positions is always a desirable goal in intimate interaction
  • Feeling cared for


What is nonverbal sensitivity and why is it important in relationships?

  • nonverbal sensitivity: the sensitivity and accuracy with which couples read, decode, and correctly interpret each other’s nonverbal behavior
    • Can predict how happy their relationship will be
  • When nonverbal exchanges fail, there may be errors in encoding or decoding, or both
  • Women typically start with an advantage at both tasks because, if no deception is involved, women are both better encoders and more astute decoders than men are on average


Explain Noller’s findings on gender differences in nonverbal sensitivity.

  • Noller (1980): Husbands in unhappy marriages sent more confusing messages and made more decoding errors than happy husbands did
    • No differences among the wives, so the poorer communication that Noller observed in the distressed marriages appeared to be the husbands’ fault.”
    • On the other hand, Noller (1981): In unhappy marriages, both the husbands and wives understood strangers better than they understood each other
  • Noller (2006): Once partners grow dissatisfied for any reason, they tend to start tuning each other out, and that causes them to communicate less adeptly than they could if they really tried
  • Just as with empathy, it’s not that men are unable to have such sensitivity, but that women are generally more motivated to
    • With coaching, men can also be high in nonverbal sensitivity


What are the benefits of responsiveness?

  • People who perceive their relationship partners as more responsive feel more close, satisfied, and committed to those relationships
  • Promotes intimacy by encouraging self-disclosure, trust, and interdependency
  • The basic tenet of secure relationships is responsiveness


Explain Collins & Feeny’s (2004) experiment on attachment styles and perceived responsiveness.

  • Romantic couples
    • Told 1 member would give speech that will be taped and evaluated by a group of other students
    • Spontaneous (videotaped interaction)
    • Partner delivered the speech
  • Just after they delivered the speech, they received a note of support from partner
    • Note predetermined by researchers and simply copied by partner
    • Unambiguous/high support
    • Ambiguous/low support
  • DVs – asked the person who received the note:
    • How supportive was the note?
    • How supportive was your partner’s behaviour before the speech (i.e. before they ostensibly wrote the note)?
  • Results: All Ps rated unambiguously supportive notes positively
    • However, for the ambiguous notes, Ps who were more insecurely attached rated the notes as more inconsiderate and upsetting
    • Furthermore, insecure Ps who received the ambiguous notes rated partner’s prior behaviour (i.e. before they wrote the note) as less supportive
  • Conclusion: Working models of self and others can bias perceptions of support experiences


What is capitalization and what are its benefits?

  • capitalization: responding with enthusiasm or excitement when a partner/friend shares good news
  • A process with 2 components:
    • One person shares good news with another
    • The other person responds with enthusiasm and excitement
    • Both increases enjoyment or pleasure about the event
      • AND enhances the relationship itself
  • Feel closer to those who enhance our excitement about personal successes
  • Relationships in which capitalization occurs more often are more satisfying and longer lasting


What is empathic accuracy?

  • empathic accuracy: capability to accurately infer what another person is thinking or feeling
    • In other words, understanding what they are trying to communicate (verbally and/or nonverbally)
      • Or what they’re not communicating (reading between the lines)
  • Ability to have empathic accuracy (almost like “mind reading”) is positively associated with
    • Familiarity
    • Motivation to be accurate
  • What about gender; are women more empathically accurate?


Explain Study 1 in Klein & Hodge’s (2001) experiment on gender and empathic accuracy.

  • 121 undergraduates (71 F, 50 M)
  • Procedure: Watched video of a woman being interviewed after receiving negative academic feedback
    • Instructed to try to infer the thoughts and feelings of the target (empathic accuracy task)
    • Also a completed sympathy questionnaire - either BEFORE (priming them to think about sympathy) or AFTER the empathic accuracy task (control group)
    • Also measured extent Ps felt range of emotions after watching the video (e.g. alarmed, grieved), wanted to control for what the participants were feeling since empathic accuracy is about imagining how the other person would feel
  • DV: Empathic accuracy
    • 4 independent judges coded the accuracy of Ps’ inferences (compared to the experience reported by the target in the video)
  • Results: Females more accurate than men – but only when given the sympathy questionnaire before doing the empathic accuracy task
  • Conclusion: When cued into the fact that a task is about empathy, the women outperform the men – presumably because they are more motivated to perform well (i.e. match the stereotype that women are more empathic than men)


Explain Study 2 in Klein & Hodge’s (2001) experiment, attempting to increase men’s empathic accuracy motivation.

  • 108 undergraduates (53 F, 54 M)
  • Procedure:
    • Watched the same video of a woman being interviewed after receiving negative academic feedback
    • Completed a sympathy questionnaire BEFOREHAND
    • Instructed to try to infer the thoughts and feelings of the target
  • Money condition: also told that would receive $2 for fully correct answer, $1 for somewhat correct answer, no money for incorrect answer
  • Control condition: no additional instructions
  • DV: Empathic accuracy
  • Result: Females more accurate in the control condition
    • But no gender differences in the money condition
    • Differences between women in the control and money conditions are also insignificant
  • Conclusion: gender differences in empathic accuracy are due to motivation, not ability


What are the 3 main sources of gender differences in communication?

  • Topics of conversation:
    • (1) Women more likely to discuss feelings; men more likely to discuss objects or events; i.e. being more expressive vs. instrumental – when they’re talking to each other
      • However, when young adults chatted with strangers online using written messages, they were generally unable to correctly guess the sex of the person they were chatting with if the researchers didn’t tell them
      • The sorts of things that distinguish men’s and women’s conversations (such as the latest sports results) rarely came up, so there was usually no way to determine with whom one was chatting
    • (2) Women more likely to have serious discussions; men more likely to make jokes (again, when it’s with the same gender)
      • These differences less apparent when men and women interact with each other, but women are still more self-disclosing than men in relationships
      • Men are more likely to open up to women than men, which means they often depend on women for emotional warmth and intimacy
  • Style of conversation:
    • (3) Women speak less forcefully, directly than men
      • Women speak more often (but are also interrupted more) than men – maybe because they constantly have to start over due to being interrupted
      • Sometimes men don’t disclose & sometimes women don’t effectively disclose


How do androgynous men fair in intimate interactions?

  • Androgynous men tend to have meaningful, intimate interactions with both sexes just as women do
    • Only traditional, macho-men aren’t likely to disclose to other men
  • The typical intimacy of a person’s interactions is tied to his or her level of expressivity; it doesn’t matter whether the person is a man or woman.
    • Expressivity is a trait that ranges from low to high in both women and men, so it makes more sense to take note of individual differences in communicative style than to lump all men together and treat them as a group distinct from women
  • blirtatiousness: whether you can blurt out your thoughts in a rapid-fire manner or need a lot of time to think about their words
    • Androgynous men aren’t bothered by highly blirtatious women, but traditional guys tend to be dissatisfied in the long run when they are paired with assertive, talkative women


What is social cognition and how does it impact intimate relationships?

  • social cognition: the processes of perception, interpretation, belief, and memory with which we evaluate and understand ourselves and other people
  • This is important because what we think helps to determine what we feel, and then how we act
    • And can have negative consequences if our perceptions are inaccurate


How much information can we get from first impressions and do first impressions have lasting influences on perceptions of people?

  • One study found that first impressions can last up to 10 weeks after meeting a person, even when they’re false
  • It only takes us about 39 milliseconds to judge someone’s face and make an impression of them
    • e.g. Whether or not a face is angry, and such judgements form a stereotype of that person
    • It’s hard to avoid using such stereotypes since we’re often unaware of them
  • We can gain a lot information about someone with just a glance
    • One study found that strangers could quite accurately judge strangers’ age, gender, income, and even anxiety about abandonment, just from a picture of their shoes


Explain the Darley & Gross (1983) study about how primacy effects work in first impressions to influence our perceptions of others.

  • primacy effect: a tendency for the first information we receive about others to carry special weight, along with our instant impressions and our stereotypes, in shaping our overall impressions of them
  • Ps learned about a little girl named Hannah who was either rich or poor and judged her academic performance
    • Initially, Ps didn’t show any difference in their ratings of Hannah’s intelligence
  • However, after watching a video about Hannah performing inconsistently on a test (getting hard questions right but easy questions wrong) — Ps who thought that Hannah was poor cited her mistakes and judged her as performing below average
    • Those who thought she was rich noted her successes and rated her as considerably better than average
  • Neither group is technically incorrect and can both point to evidence supporting their views
  • But what matters is that their perceptions contradict each other based on first impressions


Explain the Snyder & Swann (1987) study on how confirmation bias works in first impressions to influence our perceptions of others.

  • confirmation bias: people generally seek information that will prove them right more often than they look for examples that would prove them wrong
  • Study: People who were asked to interview others to find out whether they’re sociable, i.e. an introvert or extrovert, and their questions differed significantly based on what researchers had told them to find out


How does being overconfident influence our perceptions of others?

  • overconfident: thinking that we’re more accurate than we really are and making more mistakes than we realize
  • After knowing our partners for a greater amount of time, we become increasingly confident in what we know about them, despite not actually being more accurate


How may our impressions be influenced by outside factors that we’re not aware of?

  • In one experiment, Ps who had warmer hands (by holding a cup of coffee) judged a stranger as warmer than those with cold hands
  • In another experiment, sitting at a wobbly table on a wobbly chair increased P’s desire for stability in a mate
  • In both experiments, Ps were completely unaware of the external conditions swaying their judgments


What is impression management?

  • impression management: trying to influence the impressions of us that others form
  • Nearly anything we do in the presence of others may be strategically regulated
    • e.g. Women eating less on dates with attractive men, or men being more risky or pretending to be unaffected by horror movies to impress women
  • Impression management increases our changes of accomplishing our interpersonal objectives
    • Doesn’t mean that people are being untruthful and they actually rarely pretend to be things they’re not since frauds are exposed and rejected
    • Rather, they attempt to guide people to the most desirable attributes of their “real” self


What are the 4 broad strategies in impression management?

  • (1) ingratiation: trying to get others to like us by doing favours, paying compliments, agreeing with them, and being generally charming
    • Usually elicits positive reactions from others, if such behaviour is sincere
  • (2) self-promotion: recounting our accomplishments or strategically arranging public demonstrations of our skills
  • (3) intimidation: portraying oneself as ruthless, dangerous, and menacing so that others will do your bidding
    • Generally produces an undesirable image and can drive people away, but if used only occasionally can get you what you want
  • (4) supplication: presenting oneself as inept or infirm to avoid obligations and to elicit help and support from others


How does impression management work in intimate relationships?

Impression management in intimate relationships is moderated by two features:

  • (1) The motivation to self-monitor: readiness to adjust their behavior to fit the varying norms of different situations
    • Low self-monitors are less attentive to social norms and less flexible; they have smaller repertoires of skills, so they behave more consistently from one situation to the next, making the same impressions even when they don’t fit in
      • If low self-monitors had all their friends over, fewer people would come, but they’d all be a lot alike
    • High self-monitors tend to have more friends than low self-monitors do, but they have less in common with each of them
      • They strive to steer clear of any topics that would cause dispute
      • Enjoy interactions of greater intimacy earlier on, trying to establish common ground with those they meet — but later on, they end up spending less of their time on individual friends
      • If they threw a party and invited all those friends, very different people who have little in common with each other would show up
  • (2) We usually go to less trouble to maintain favorable images for our intimate partners than we do for others
    • We know our friends and lovers like us, so there’s less motivation to win their approval
    • Because they know us well, there’s less we can do to have much effect on what they think
    • However, it’s also likely that people simply get lazy
      • And this can become a problem in relationships down the line