Effect of Dyadic Context on Judgments of Rapport: Dyad Task and Partner Presence
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The present studies investigated the effects of dyadic context on judgments of nonverbal behavior associated with rapport. As predicted, the task performed by a dyad, the visible presence or absence of both dyad members, and the sex of the observer affected observer judgments of responsiveness, friendliness, dominance, critical scrutiny, polite sympathy, and high status. The results suggest that dyadic context affects judgments of dyad members' facilitation of rapport by both constraining dyad behavior and affecting observer perception: (a) Dyad members received higher judgments on person-focused behaviors when engaged in a discussion as compared to a puzzle; (b) Visible presence of an interaction partner led observers to see a dyad member, on the whole, as inhibiting rapport in the interaction; and (c) Female observers perceived dyad members to exhibit more rapport-facilitating behavior. These results have major implications for the way rapport and person perception research is conducted and for understanding interpersonal perception in everyday life.
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