Topical Themes in Argumentation Theory pp 307-322

Part of the Argumentation Library book series (ARGA, volume 22)

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The Costs and Benefits of Arguing: Predicting the Decision Whether to Engage or Not

Chapter

Abstract

When a situation makes an interpersonal argument possible, sometimes people engage in arguing and sometimes they avoid it. This empirical study (N = 509) construed the engagement decision as being based on the type of argument topic (personal, public, or workplace), individual differences (argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness), and the anticipated costs and benefits of arguing. Costs and benefits included projections of appropriateness, civility, other’s reasonableness, likelihood of winning, the argument’s apparent resolvability, and more general measures of costs and benefits. Each topic type produced a somewhat different set of influential costs and benefits. The individual differences did not strongly affect the engagement decision. Across topic types, the most important costs and benefits were appropriateness and likelihood of winning. About two-thirds of the variance in intention to engage in argument was successfully modeled.

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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of CommunicationUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkCanada

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