Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 241–260

Attaining Status at the Expense of Likeability: Pilfering Power Through Conversational Interruption

Original Paper


Do status expectations affect how we interpret interruption in conversation? Two experiments examined how interrupters and their targets are perceived in same- and mixed-gender dyads. In Experiment 1, participants listened to a brief audiotaped conversation in which one person interrupted the other five times. In Experiment 2, four confederates (two men and two women) systematically interrupted naïve participants while discussing an article. In general, interrupters gained in status and targets of interruption lost status. In addition, participants who were interrupted rated themselves as less influential than those who were not interrupted. As expected, interrupters, especially female interrupters, were liked less than those who did not interrupt. Theoretical implications are discussed.


Nonverbal behavior Power Status Interruption Group dynamics 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Applied Behavioral SciencesUniversity of BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA

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