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Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 6–33 | Cite as

A test among models of nonverbal immediacy reactions: Arousal-labeling, discrepancy-arousal, and social cognition

  • Brian P. O'Connor
  • Robert Gifford
Article

Abstract

Individuals may respond to an increase in nonverbal immediacy by either increasing or decreasing the immediacy of their own behavior. To account for this, a number of models have been proposed, including arousal-labeling (Patterson, 1976), discrepancy-arousal (Cappella & Greene, 1982), and social cognition (e.g., Ellsworth, 1978). An experiment was designed to test the social cognition approach and, when combined with findings of previous studies, to serve as a test among three models. Individual male subjects discussed a moral dilemma with a male confederate at a seating distance of either 1.1 m (control group) or 0.3 m in two experimental groups (confederate intentional-close and confederate forced-close). Subjects in both experimental conditions showed less immediate nonverbal behavior, but only subjects in the intentional-close condition evaluated the confederate more negatively than subjects in the control group. These results, when combined with past research findings, suggest that social cognition alone may determine whether nonverbal compensation or reciprocation will occur, and that arousal-based explanations may be unnecessary. Other self-report findings of the study, however, create difficulties for all three models of nonverbal exchange.

Keywords

Social Psychology Research Finding Past Research Male Subject Social Cognition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian P. O'Connor
    • 1
  • Robert Gifford
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Quebec at MontrealMontrealCanada

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