Chapter 3: Intrapersonal Communication

Who are you? Have you ever sat around thinking about how you fit into the larger universe. Manford Kuhn created a simple exercise to get at the heart of this question.1 Take out a piece of paper and number 1 to 20 (or use the worksheet in the workbook). For each number, answer the question “Who Am I?” using a complete sentence. Results from this activity generally demonstrate five distinct categories about an individual: social group an individual belongs to, ideological beliefs, personal interests, personal ambitions, and self-evaluations. If you did the Twenty Item Test, take a second and identify your list using this scheme. All of these five categories are happening at what is called the intrapersonal-level. refers to something that exists or occurs within an individual’s self or mind. This chapter focuses on understanding intrapersonal processes and how they relate to communication.

Larry Barker and Gordon Wiseman created one of the oldest definitions of the term “intrapersonal communication” in the field of communication. Barker and Wiseman defined intrapersonal communication as “the creating, functioning, and evaluating of symbolic processes which operate primarily within oneself.”2 The researchers go on to explain that intrapersonal communication exists on a continuum from thinking and reflecting (more internal) to talking aloud or writing a note to one’s self (more external).

More recently, Samuel Riccillo defined intrapersonal communication as a “process involving the activity of the individual biological organism’s capacity to coordinate and organize complex actions of an intentional nature… For the human organism, such complex interactions are anchored in the signaling processes known as symbolic language.”3 Both the Barker and Wiseman and the Riccillo definitions represent two ends of the spectrum with regards to the idea of intrapersonal communication. For our purposes in this book, we define intrapersonal communication as something of a hybrid between these two definitions. refers to communication phenomena that exist within or occurs because of an individual’s self or mind. Under this definition, we can examine Barker and Wiseman’s notions of both ends of their intrapersonal communication continuum while also realizing that Riccillo’s notions of biology (e.g., personality and communication traits) are equally important.

3.1 Who Are You?

Learning Objectives

  1. Differentiate between self-concept and self-esteem.
  2. Explain what is meant by Charles Horton Cooley’s concept of the looking-glass self.
  3. Examine the impact that self-esteem has on communication.

In the first part of this chapter, we mentioned Manford Kuhn’s “Who Am I?” exercise for understanding ourselves. A lot of the items generally listed by individuals completing this exercise can fall into the areas of self-concept and self-esteem. In this section, we’re going to examine both of these concepts.

Self-Concept

According to Roy F. Baumeister (1999), implies “the individual’s belief about himself or herself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is.”4 An attribute is a characteristic, feature, or quality or inherent part of a person, group, or thing. In 1968, social psychologist Norman Anderson came up with a list of 555 personal attributes.5 He had research participants rate the 555 attributes from most desirable to least desirable. The top ten most desirable characteristics were:

  1. Sincere
  2. Honest
  3. Understanding
  4. Loyal
  5. Truthful
  6. Trustworthy
  7. Intelligent
  8. Dependable
  9. Open-Minded
  10. Thoughtful

Conversely, the top ten least desirable attributes were:

  1. Liar
  2. Phony
  3. Mean
  4. Cruel
  5. Dishonest
  6. Untruthful
  7. Obnoxious
  8. Malicious
  9. Dishonorable
  10. Deceitful

When looking at this list, do you agree with the ranks from 1968? In a more recent study, conducted by Jesse Chandler using an expanded list of 1,042 attributes,6 the following pattern emerged for the top 10 most positively viewed attributes:

  1. Honest
  2. Likable
  3. Compassionate
  4. Respectful
  5. Kindly
  6. Sincere
  7. Trustworthy
  8. Ethical
  9. Good-Natured
  10. Honorable

And here is the updated list for the top 10 most negatively viewed attributes:

  1. Pedophilic
  2. Homicidal
  3. Evil-Doer
  4. Abusive
  5. Evil-Minded
  6. Nazi
  7. Mugger
  8. Asswipe
  9. Untrustworthy
  10. Hitlerish

Some of the changes in both lists represent changing times and the addition of the new terms by Chandler. For example, the terms sincere, honest, and trustworthy were just essential attributes for both the 1968 and 2018 studies. Conversely, none of the negative attributes remained the same from 1968 to 2018. The negative attributes, for the most part, represent more modern sensibilities about personal attributes.

The Three Selves

Carl Rogers, a distinguished psychologist in the humanistic approach to psychology, believed that an individual’s self-concept is made of three distinct things: self-image, self-worth, and ideal-self.7

Self-Image

An individual’s is a view that they have of themselves. If we go back and look at the attributes that we’ve listed in this section, think about these as laundry lists of possibilities that impact your view of yourself. For example, you may view yourself as ethical, trustworthy, honest, and loyal, but you may also realize that there are times when you are also obnoxious and mean. For a positive self-image, we will have more positive attributes than negative ones. However, it’s also possible that one negative attribute may overshadow the positive attributes, which is why we also need to be aware of our perceptions of our self-worth.

Self-Worth

is the value that you place on yourself. In essence, self-worth is the degree to which you see yourself as a good person who deserves to be valued and respected. Unfortunately, many people judge their self-worth based on arbitrary measuring sticks like physical appearance, net worth, social circle/clique, career, grades, achievements, age, relationship status, likes on Facebook, social media followers, etc.… Interested in seeing how you view your self-worth? Then take a minute and complete the Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale.8 According to Courtney Ackerman, there are four things you can do to help improve your self-worth:9

  1. You no longer need to please other people.
  2. No matter what people do or say, and regardless of what happens outside of you, you alone control how you feel about yourself.
  3. You have the power to respond to events and circumstances based on your internal sources, resources, and resourcefulness, which are the reflection of your true value.
  4. Your value comes from inside, from an internal measure that you’ve set for yourself.
Ideal-Self

The final characteristic of Rogers’ three parts to self-concept is the ideal-self.10 The is the version of yourself that you would like to be, which is created through our life experiences, cultural demands, and expectations of others. The real-self, on the other hand, is the person you are. The ideal-self is perfect, flawless, and, ultimately, completely unrealistic. When an individual’s real-self and ideal-self are not remotely similar, someone needs to think through if that idealized version of one’s self is attainable. It’s also important to know that our ideal-self is continuously evolving. How many of us wanted to be firefighters, police officers, or astronauts as kids? Some of you may still want to be one of these, but most of us had our ideal-self evolve.

Three Self’s Working Together

Now that we’ve looked at the three parts of Carl Rogers’ theory of self-concept, let’s discuss how they all work together to create one’s self-concept. Rogers’ theory of self-concept also looks at a concept we discussed in Chapter 2 when we discussed Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Specifically, the idea of self-actualization. In Rogers’ view, self-actualization cannot happen when an individual’s self-image, self-worth, and ideal-self have no overlap.

As you can see in Figure 3.1, on the left side, you have the three parts of self-concept as very distinct in this individual, which is why it’s called incongruent, or the three are not compatible with each other. In this case, someone’s self-image and ideal-self may have nothing in common, and this person views themself as having no self-worth. When someone has this type of incongruence, they are likely to exhibit other psychological problems. On the other hand, when someone’s self-image, ideal-self, and self-worth overlap, that person is considered congruent because the three parts of self-concept overlap and are compatible with each other. The more this overlap grows, the greater the likelihood someone will be able to self-actualize. Rogers believed that self-actualization was an important part of self-concept because until a person self-actualizes, then he/she/they will be out of balance with how he/she/they relate to the world and with others.

Incongruent diagrammed as three circles that do not touch labeled "self image", "self worth" and "Ideal Self". Congruent is diagrammed next to it with the same labeled circles, but with them each overlapping onto each other.
Figure 3.1 Carl Rogers’ Self-Concept
The “Looking-Glass” Self

In 1902, Charles Horton Cooley wrote Human Nature and the Social Order. In this book, Cooley introduced a concept called the looking-glass self: “Each to each a looking-glass / Reflects the other that doth pass”11 Although the term “looking-glass” isn’t used very often in today’s modern tongue, it means a mirror. Cooley argues, when we are looking to a mirror, we also think about how others view us and the judgments they make about us. Cooley ultimately posed three postulates:

  1. Actors learn about themselves in every situation by exercising their imagination to reflect on their social performance.
  2. Actors next imagine what those others must think of them. In other words, actors imagine the others’ evaluations of the actor’s performance.
  3. The actor experiences an affective reaction to the imagined evaluation of the other.12

In Figure 3.2, we see an illustration of this basic idea. You have a figure standing before four glass panes. In the left-most mirror, the figure has devil horns; in the second, a pasted on a fake smile; in the third, a tie; and in the last one, a halo. Maybe the figure’s ex sees the devil, his friends and family think the figure is always happy, the figure’s coworkers see a professional, and the figure’s parents/guardians see their little angel. Along with each of these ideas, there are inherent judgments. And, not all of these judgments are necessarily accurate, but we still come to understand and know ourselves based on our perceptions of these judgments.

A figure looking into mulitple mirrors and seeing different reflections.
Figure 3.2 Looking-Glass Self

Ultimately, our self-image is shaped through our interactions with others, but only through the mediation of our minds. At the same time, because we perceive that others are judging us, we also tend to shape our façade to go along with that perception. For example, if you work in the customer service industry, you may sense that you are always expected to smile. Since you want to be viewed positively, you plaster on a fake smile all the time no matter what is going on in your personal life. At the same time, others may start to view you as a happy-go-lucky person because you’re always in a good mood.

Thankfully, we’re not doing this all the time, or we would be driving ourselves crazy. Instead, there are certain people in our lives about whose judgments we worry more than others. Imagine you are working in a new job. You respect your new boss, and you want to gain her/his/their respect in return. Currently, you believe that your boss doesn’t think you’re a good fit for the organization because you are not serious enough about your job. If you perceive that your boss will like you more if you are a more serious worker, then you will alter your behavior to be more in line with what your boss sees as “serious.” In this situation, your boss didn’t come out and say that you were not a serious worker, but we perceived the boss’ perception of us and her/his/their judgment of that perception of us and altered our behavior to be seen in a better light.

Self-Esteem

One of the most commonly discussed intrapersonal communication ideas is an individual’s self-esteem. There are a ton of books in both academic and non-academic circles that address this idea.

Defining Self-Esteem

is an individual’s subjective evaluation of her/his/their abilities and limitations. Let’s break down this definition into sizeable chunks.

Subjective Evaluation

The definition states that someone’s self-esteem is an “individual’s subjective evaluation.” The word “subjective” emphasizes that self-esteem is based on an individual’s emotions and opinions and is not based on facts. For example, many people suffer from what is called the impostor syndrome, or they doubt their accomplishments, knowledge, and skills, so they live in fear of being found out a fraud. These individuals have a constant fear that people will figure out that they are “not who they say they are.” Research in this area generally shows that these fears of “being found out” are not based on any kind of fact or evidence. Instead, these individuals’ emotions and opinions of themselves are fueled by incongruent self-concepts. Types of people who suffer from imposter syndrome include physicians, CEOs, academics, celebrities, artists, and pretty much any other category. Again, it’s important to remember that these perceptions are subjective and not based on any objective sense of reality. Imagine a physician who has gone through four years of college, three years of medical school, three years of residency, and another four years of specialization training only to worry that someone will find out that he/she/they aren’t that smart after all. There’s no objective basis for this perception; it’s completely subjective and flies in the face of facts.

In addition to the word “subjective,” we also use the word “evaluation” in the definition of self-esteem. By evaluation, we mean a determination or judgment about the quality, importance, or value of something. We evaluate a ton of different things daily:

  1. We evaluate how we interact with others.
  2. We evaluate the work we complete.
  3. We also evaluate ourselves and our specific abilities and limitations.

Our lives are filled with constant evaluations.

Abilities

When we discuss our abilities, we are referring to the acquired or natural capacity for specific talents, skills, or proficiencies that facilitate achievement or accomplishment. First, someone’s abilities can be inherent (natural) or they can be learned (acquired). For example, if someone is 6’6”, has excellent reflexes, and has a good sense of space, he/she/they may find that they have a natural ability to play basketball that someone who is 4’6”, has poor reflex speed, and has no sense of space simply does not have. That’s not to say that both people cannot play basketball, but they will both have different ability levels. They can both play basketball because they can learn skills necessary to play basketball: shooting the ball, dribbling, rules of the game, etc. In a case like basketball, professional-level players need to have a combination of both natural and acquired abilities.

We generally break abilities into two different categories: talent or skills to help distinguish what we are discussing. First, talent is usually more of an inherent or natural capacity. For example, someone may look like the ideal basketball player physically, but the person may simply have zero talent for the game. Sometimes we call talent the “it factor” because it’s often hard to pinpoint why someone people have it and others don’t. Second, skills refer to an individual’s use of knowledge or physical being to accomplish a specific task. We often think of skills in terms of the things we learn to do. For example, most people can learn to swim or ride a bike. Doing this may take some time to learn, but we can develop the skills necessary to stay afloat and move in the water or the skills necessary to achieve balance and pedal the bike.

The final part of the definition of abilities is the importance of achievement and accomplishment. Just because someone has learned the skills to do something does not mean that they can accomplish the task. Think back to when you first learned to ride a bicycle (or another task). Most of us had to try and try again before we found ourselves pedaling on our own without falling over. The first time you got on the bicycle and fell over, you didn’t have the ability to ride a bike. You may have had a general understanding of how it worked, but there’s often a massive chasm between knowing how something is done and then actually achieving or accomplishing it. As such, when we talk about abilities, we really emphasize the importance of successful completion.

Limitations

In addition to one’s abilities, it’s always important to recognize that we all have limitations. In the words of my podiatrist, I will never be a runner because of the shape of my arch. Whether I like it or not, my foot’s physical structure will not allow me to be an effective runner. Thankfully, this was never something I wanted to be. I didn’t sit up all night as a child dreaming of running a marathon one day. In this case, I have a natural limitation, but it doesn’t negatively affect me because I didn’t evaluate running positively for myself. On the flip side, growing up, I took years of piano lessons, but honestly, I was just never that good at it. I have short, stubby fingers, so reaching notes on a piano that are far away is just hard for me. To this day, I wish I was a good piano player. I am disappointed that I couldn’t be a better piano player. Now, does this limitation cripple me? No.

We all have limitations on what we can and cannot do. When it comes to your self-esteem, it’s about how you evaluate those limitations. Do you realize your limitations and they don’t bother you? Or do your limitations prevent you from being happy with yourself? When it comes to understanding limitations, it’s important to recognize the limitations that we can change and the limitations we cannot change. One problem that many people have when it comes to limitations is that they cannot differentiate between the types of limitations. If I had wanted to be a runner growing up and then suddenly found out that my dream wasn’t possible because of my feet, then I could go through the rest of my life disappointed and depressed that I’m not a runner. Even worse, I could try to force myself to into being a runner and cause long-term damage to my body.

Self-Esteem and Communication

You may be wondering by this point about the importance of self-esteem in interpersonal communication. Self-esteem and communication have a reciprocal relationship (as depicted in Figure 3.3). Our communication with others impacts our self-esteem, and our self-esteem impacts our communication with others. As such, our self-esteem and communication are constantly being transformed by each other.

an arrow labeled communication pointing to self esteem, which is also an arrow pointing back to communication.
Figure 3.3 Self-Esteem and Communication

As such, interpersonal communication and self-esteem cannot be separated. Now, our interpersonal communication is not the only factor that impacts self-esteem, but interpersonal interactions are one of the most important tools we have in developing our selves.

Mindfulness Activity

Brain iconOne of the beautiful things about mindfulness is that it positively impacts someone’s self-esteem.13 It’s possible that people who are higher in mindfulness report higher self-esteem because of the central tenant of non-judgment. People with lower self-esteems often report highly negative views of themselves and their past experiences in life. These negative judgments can start to wear someone down.

Christopher Pepping, Analise O’Donovan, and Penelope J. Davis believe that mindfulness practice can help improve one’s self-esteem for four reasons:14

  • Labeling internal experiences with words, which might prevent people from getting consumed by self-critical thoughts and emotions;
  • Bringing a non-judgmental attitude toward thoughts and emotions, which could help individuals have a neutral, accepting attitude toward the self;
  • Sustaining attention on the present moment, which could help people avoid becoming caught up in self-critical thoughts that relate to events from the past or future;
  • Letting thoughts and emotions enter and leave awareness without reacting to them.15

For this exercise, think about a recent situation where you engaged in self-critical thoughts.

  1. What types of phrases ran through your head? Would you have said these to a friend? If not, why do you say them to yourself?
  2. What does the negative voice in your head sound like? Is this voice someone you want to listen to? Why?
  3. Did you try temporarily distracting yourself to see if the critical thoughts would go away (e.g., mindfulness meditation, coloring, exercise, etc.)? If yes, how did that help? If not, why?
  4. Did you examine the evidence? What proof did you have that the self-critical thought was true?
  5. Was this a case of a desire to improve yourself or a case of non-compassion towards yourself?

Self-Compassion

Some researchers have argued that self–esteem as the primary measure of someone’s psychological health may not be wise because it stems from comparisons with others and judgments. As such, Kristy Neff has argued for the use of the term self-compassion.16

Self-Compassion stems out of the larger discussion of compassion. then is about the sympathetic consciousness for someone who is suffering or unfortunate. “involves being touched by and open to one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, generating the desire to alleviate one’s suffering and to heal oneself with kindness. Self-compassion also involves offering nonjudgmental understanding to one’s pain, inadequacies and failures, so that one’s experience is seen as part of the larger human experience.”18 Neff argues that self-compassion can be broken down into three distinct categories: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness (Figure 3.4).

self compassion in the center with self kindness connected at the top, common humanity on the left, and mindfulness on the right.
Figure 3.4 Three Factors of Self-Compassion

Self-Kindness

Humans have a really bad habit of beating ourselves up. As the saying goes, we are often our own worst enemies. Self-kindness is simply extending the same level of care and understanding to ourselves as we would to others. Instead of being harsh and judgmental, we are encouraging and supportive. Instead of being critical, we are empathic towards ourselves. Now, this doesn’t mean that we just ignore our faults and become narcissistic (excessive interest in oneself), but rather we realistically evaluate ourselves as we discussed in the Mindfulness Exercise earlier.

Common Humanity

The second factor of self-compassion is common humanity, or “seeing one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as separating and isolating.”19 As Kristen Naff and Christopher Germer realize, we’re all flawed works in progress.20 No one is perfect. No one is ever going to be perfect. We all make mistakes (some big, some small). We’re also all going to experience pain and suffering in our lives. Being self-compassionate is approaching this pain and suffering and seeing it for what it is, a natural part of being human. “The pain I feel in difficult times is the same pain you feel in difficult times. The circumstances are different, the degree of pain is different, but the basic experience of human suffering is the same.”21

Mindfulness

The final factor of self-compassion is mindfulness. Although Naff defines mindfulness in the same terms we’ve been discussing in this text, she specifically addresses mindfulness as a factor of pain, so she defines mindfulness, with regards to self-compassion, as “holding one’s painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness rather than over-identifying with them.”22 Essentially, Naff argues that mindfulness is an essential part of self-compassion, because we need to be able to recognize and acknowledge when we’re suffering so we can respond with compassion to ourselves.

Don’t Feed the Vulture

a woman and a vulture
Figure 3.5 Don’t Feed the Vulture

One area that we know can hurt someone’s self-esteem is what Sidney Simon calls “vulture statements.” According to Simon,

Vulture (‘vul-cher) noun. 1: any of various large birds of prey that are related to the haws, eagles and falcons, but with the head usually naked of feathers and that subsist chiefly or entirely on dead flesh.23

Unfortunately, all of us have vultures circling our heads or just sitting on our shoulders. In Figure 3.5, we see a young woman feeding an apple to her vulture. This apple represents all of the negative things we say about ourselves during a day. Many of us spend our entire days just feeding our vultures and feeding our vultures these self-deprecating, negative thoughts and statements. Admittedly, these negative thoughts “come from only one place. They grow out of other people’s criticisms, from the negative responses to what we do and say, and the way we act.”24 We have the choice to either let these thoughts consume us or fight them. According to Virginia Richmond, Jason Wrench, and Joan Gorham, the following are characteristic statements that vultures wait to hear so they can feed (see also Figure 3.6):

  • Oh boy, do I look awful today; I look like I’ve been up all night.
  • Oh, this is going to be an awful day.
  • I’ve already messed up. I left my students’ graded exams at home.
  • Boy, I should never have gotten out of bed this morning.
  • Gee whiz. I did an awful job of teaching that unit.
  • Why can’t I do certain things as well as Mr. Smith next door?
  • Why am I always so dumb?
  • I can’t believe I’m a teacher; why, I have the mentality of a worm.
  • I don’t know why I ever thought I could teach.
  • I can’t get anything right.
  • Good grief, what am I doing here? Why didn’t I select any easy job?
  • I am going nowhere, doing nothing; I am a failure at teaching.
  • In fact, I am a failure in most things I attempt.25

Do any of these vulture statements sound familiar to you? If you’re like us, I’m sure they do. Part of self-compassion is learning to recognize these vulture statements when they appear in our minds and evaluate them critically. Ben Martin proposes four ways to challenging vulture statements (negative self-talk):

  1. Reality testing
    • What is my evidence for and against my thinking?
    • Are my thoughts factual, or are they just my interpretations?
    • Am I jumping to negative conclusions?
    • How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?
  2. Look for alternative explanations
    • Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?
    • What else could this mean?
    • If I were being positive, how would I perceive this situation?
  3. Putting it in perspective
    • Is this situation as bad as I am making out to be?
    • What is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it?
    • What is the best thing that could happen?
    • What is most likely to happen?
    • Is there anything good about this situation?
    • Will this matter in five years?
  4. Using goal-directed thinking
    • Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?
    • What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
    • Is there something I can learn from this situation, to help me do it better next time?26

So, next time those vultures start circling you, check that negative self-talk. When we can stop these patterns of negativity towards ourselves and practice self-compassion, we can start plucking the feathers of those vultures. The more we treat ourselves with self-compassion and work against those vulture statements, the smaller and smaller those vultures get. Our vultures may never die, but we can make them much, much smaller.

a crouched figure under vultures and the words, I'm useless, I'm gonna fail like I always do, I'm nothing, etc.
Figure 3.6 Don’t Feed the Vulture

Research Spotlight

Research IconIn 2018, Laura Umphrey and John Sherblom examined the relationship between social communication competence, self-compassion, and hope. The goal of the study was to see if someone’s social communication competence could predict their ability to engage in self-compassion. Ultimately, the researchers found individuals who engaged in socially competent communication behaviors were more likely to engage in self-compassion, which “suggests that a person who can learn to speak with others competently, initiate conversations, engage others in social interaction, and be more outgoing, while managing verbal behavior and social roles, may also experience greater personal self-compassion” (p. 29).

Umphrey, L. R., & Sherblom, J. C. (2018). The constitutive relationship of social communication competence to self-compassion and hope. Communication Research Reports, 35(1), 22–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2017.1361395

Key Takeaways

  • Self-concept is an individual’s belief about themself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is. Conversely, self-esteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their abilities and limitations.
  • Sociologist Charles Horton Cooley coined the term “looking-glass self” to refer to the idea that an individual’s self-concept is a reflection of how an individual imagines how he or she appears to other people. In other words, humans are constantly comparing themselves to how they believe others view them.
  • There is an interrelationship between an individual’s self-esteem and her/his/their communication. In essence, an individual’s self-esteem impacts how they communicate with others, and this communication with others impacts their self-esteem.

Exercises

  • Pull out a piece of paper and conduct the “Who Am I?” exercise created by Manford Kuhn. Once you have completed the exercise, categorize your list using Kuhn’s five distinct categories about an individual: social group an individual belongs to, ideological beliefs, personal interests, personal ambitions, and self-evaluations. After categorizing your list, ask yourself what your list says about your self-concept, self-image, self-esteem, and self-respect.
  • Complete the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (http://www.wwnorton.com/college/psych/psychsci/media/rosenberg.htm). After getting your results, do you agree with your results? Why or why not? Why do you think you scored the way you did on the measure?

3.2 Personality and Perception in Intrapersonal Communication

Learning Objectives

  1. Define and differentiate between the terms personality and temperament.
  2. Explain common temperament types seen in both research and pop culture.
  3. Categorize personality traits as either cognitive dispositions or personal-social dispositions.

After the previous discussions of self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem, it should be obvious that the statements and judgments of others and your view of yourself can affect your communication with others. Additional factors, such as your personality and perception, affect communication as well. Let us next examine these factors and the influence each has on communication.

Personality

is defined as the combination of traits or qualities—such as behavior, emotional stability, and mental attributes—that make a person unique. Before going further, let’s quickly examine some of the research related to personality. John Daly categorizes personality into four general categories: cognitive dispositions, personal-social dispositions, communicative dispositions, and relational dispositions.27 Before we delve into these four categories of personality, let’s take a quick look at two common themes in this area of research: nature or nurture and temperament.

Nature or Nurture

One of the oldest debates in the area of personality research is whether a specific behavior or thought process occurs within an individual because of their nature (genetics) or nurture (how he/she/they were raised). The first person to start investigating this phenomenon was Sir Francis Galton back in the 1870s.28 In 1875, Galton sought out twins and their families to learn more about similarities and differences. As a whole, Galton found that there were more similarities than differences: “There is no escape from the conclusion that nature prevails enormously over nurture when the differences of nurture do not exceed what is commonly to be found among persons of the same rank of society and in the same country.”29 However, the reality is that Galton’s twin participants had been raised together, so parsing out nature and nurture (despite Galton’s attempts) wasn’t completely possible. Although Galton’s anecdotes provided some interesting stories, that’s all they amounted to.

Minnesota Twins Raised Apart

So, how does one determine if something ultimately nature or nurture? The next breakthrough in this line of research started in the late 1970s when Thomas J. Bouchard and his colleagues at Minnesota State University began studying twins who were raised separately.30 This research started when a pair of twins, Jim Lewis and Jim Springer, were featured in an article on February 19, 1979, in the Lima News in Lima, Ohio.31 Jim and Jim were placed in an adoption agency and separated from each other at four weeks of age. They grew up just 40 miles away from each other, but they never knew the other one existed. Jess and Sarah Springer and Ernest and Lucille Lewis were looking to adopt, and both sets of parents were told that their Jim had been a twin, but they were also told that his twin had died. Many adoption agencies believed that placing twins with couples was difficult, so this practice of separating twins at birth was an inside practice that the adoptive parents knew nothing about. Jim Lewis’ mother had found out that Jim’s twin was still alive when he was toddler, so Jim Lewis knew that he had a twin but didn’t seek him out until he was 39 years old. Jim Springer, on the other hand, learned that he had been a twin when he was eight years old, but he believed the original narrative that his twin had died.

As you can imagine, Jim Springer was pretty shocked when he received a telephone message with his twin’s contact information out of nowhere one day. The February 19th article in the Lima News was initially supposed to be a profile piece on one of the Springers’ brothers, but the reporter covering the wedding found Lewis and Springer’s tale fascinating. The reporter found several striking similarities between the twins:32

  • Their favorite subject in school was math
  • Both hated spelling in school
  • Their favorite vacation spot was Pas Grille Beach in Florida
  • Both had previously been in law enforcement
  • They both enjoyed carpentry as a hobby
  • Both were married to women named Betty
  • Both were divorced from women named Linda
  • Both had a dog named “Toy”
  • Both started suffering from tension headaches when they were 18
  • Even their sons’ names were oddly similar (James Alan and James Allan)

This sensationalist story caught the attention of Bouchard because this opportunity allowed him and his colleagues to study the influence rearing had on twins in a way that wasn’t possible when studying twins who were raised together.

Over the next decade, Bouchard and his team of researchers would seek out and interview over 100 different pairs of twins or sets of triplets who had been raised apart.33 The researchers were able to compare those twins to twins who were reared together. As a whole, they found more similarities between the two twin groups than they found differences. This set of studies is one of many that have been conducted using twins over the years to help us understand the interrelationship between rearing and genetics.

Twin Research in Communication

In the field of communication, the first major twin study published was conducted by Cary Wecht Horvath in 1995.34 In her study, Horvath compared 62 pairs of identical twins and 42 pairs of fraternal twins to see if they differed in terms of their communicator style, or “the way one verbally, nonverbally, and paraverbally interacts to signal how literal meaning should be taken, filtered, or understood.”35 Ultimately, Horvath found that identical twins’ communicator styles were more similar than those of fraternal twins. Hence, a good proportion of someone’s communicator style appears to be a result of someone’s genetic makeup. However, this is not to say that genetics was the only factor at play about someone’s communicator style.

Other research in the field of communication has examined how a range of different communication variables are associated with genetics when analyzed through twin studies:36,37, 38

  • Interpersonal Affiliation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Social Anxiety
  • Audience Anxiety
  • Self-Perceived Communication Competence
  • Willingness to Communicate
  • Communicator Adaptability

It’s important to realize that the authors of this book do not assume nor promote that all of our communication is biological. Still, we also cannot dismiss the importance that genetics plays in our communicative behavior and development. Here is our view of the interrelationship among environment and genetics. Imagine we have two twins that were separated at birth. One twin is put into a middle-class family where she will be exposed to a lot of opportunities. The other twin, on the other hand, was placed with a lower-income family where the opportunities she will have in life are more limited. The first twin goes to a school that has lots of money and award-winning teachers. The second twin goes to an inner-city school where there aren’t enough textbooks for the students, and the school has problems recruiting and retaining qualified teachers. The first student has the opportunity to engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities both in school (mock UN, debate, student council, etc.) and out of school (traveling softball club, skiing, yoga, etc.). The second twin’s school doesn’t have the budget for extracurricular activities, and her family cannot afford out of school activities, so she ends up taking a job when she’s a teenager. Now imagine that these twins are naturally aggressive. The first twin’s aggressiveness may be exhibited by her need to win in both mock UN and debate; she may also strive to not only sit on the student council but be its president. In this respect, she demonstrates more prosocial forms of aggression. The second twin, on the other hand, doesn’t have these more prosocial outlets for her aggression. As such, her aggression may be demonstrated through more interpersonal problems with her family, teachers, friends, etc.… Instead of having those more positive outlets for her aggression, she may become more physically aggressive in her day-to-day life. In other words, we do believe that the context and the world where a child is reared is very important to how they display communicative behaviors, even if those communicative behaviors have biological underpinnings.

Temperament Types

is the genetic predisposition that causes an individual to behave, react, and think in a specific manner. The notion that people have fundamentally different temperaments dates back to the Greek physician Hippocrates, known today as the father of medicine, who first wrote of four temperaments in 370 BCE: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic. Although closely related, temperament and personality refer to two different constructs. Jan Strelau explains that temperament and personality differ in five specific ways:

  1. Temperament is biologically determined where personality is a product of the social environment.
  2. Temperamental features may be identified from early childhood, whereas personality is shaped in later periods of development.
  3. Individual differences in temperamental traits like anxiety, extraversion-introversion, and stimulus-seeking are also observed in animals, whereas personality is the prerogative of humans.
  4. Temperament stands for stylistic aspects. Personality for the content aspect of behavior.
  5. Unlike temperament, personality refers to the integrative function of human behavior.39

In 1978, David Keirsey developed the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, a questionnaire that combines the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator with a model of four temperament types developed by psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer in the early 20th century.40 Take a minute and go to David Keirsey’s website and complete his four-personality type questionnaire (http://www.keirsey.com/sorter/register.aspx). You’ll also be able to learn a lot more about the four-type personality system.

In reality, there are a ton of four-type personality systems that have been created over the years. Table 3.1 provides just a number of the different four-type personality system that are available on the market today. Each one has its quirks and patterns, but the basic results are generally the same.

System Personalities
Hippocrates Greek Terms Sanguine Melancholy Choleric Phlegmatic
Wired that Way Popular
Sanguine
Perfect Melancholy Powerful Choleric Peaceful Phlegmatic
Keirsy Temperament (1967) Artisan
Sensation Seeking
Rational
Knowledge Seeking
Guardian
Security Seeking
Idealist
Identity Seeking
Carl Jung’s Theory (1921) Feeling Thinking Sensing Intuition
Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator
(1962)
Feeler
Extravert
Thinker
Introvert
Intuiter
Extravert
Sensor
Introvert
“What’s My Style?” (WMS) Spirited Systematic Direct Considerate
The P’s Popular Perfect Powerful Peaceful
The S’s Spirited Systematic Self-propelled Solid
The A’s Active Analytical Administrative Amiable
LEAD Test Expressor Analyst Leader Dependable
Biblical Characters Peter Moses Paul Abraham
DiSC Influencing of Others Cautiousness/
Compliance
Dominance Steadiness
McCarthy/4MAT System Dynamic Analytic Common Sense Innovative
Plato (340 BC) Artisan Scientist Guardian Philosopher
Enneagram Helper
Romantic
Asserter
Perfectionist
Adventurer
Achiever
Peacemaker
Observer
True Colors Orange Gold Green Blue
Children’s Literature Tigger Eeyore Rabbit Pooh
Charlie Brown Characters Snoopy Linus Lucy Charlie Brown
Who Moved My Cheese? Scurry Hem Sniff Haw
LEAD Test Expresser Analyst Leader Dependable
Eysenck’s EPQ-R High Extravert
Low Neurotic
Low Extravert
High Neurotic
High Extravert
High Neurotic
Low Extravert
Low Neurotic

Table 3.1. Comparing 4-Personality Types

And before you ask, none of the research examining the four types has found clear sex differences among the patterns. Females and males are seen proportionately in all four categories.

For example, training publisher HRDQ publishes the “What’s My Style?” series (http://www.hrdqstore.com/Style), and has applied the four-personalities to the following workplace issues: coaching, communication, leadership, learning, selling, teams, and time management.

David Keirsey argues that the consistent use of the four temperament types (whatever terms we use) is an indication of the long-standing tradition and complexity of these ideas.41

The Big Five

In the world of personality, one of the most commonly discussed concepts in research is the Big Five. In the late 1950s, Ernest C. Tupes and Raymond E. Christal conducted a series of studies examining a model of personality.42,43 Ultimately, they found five consistent personality clusters they labeled: surgency, agreeableness, dependability, emotional stability, and culture). Listed below are the five broad personality categories with the personality trait words in parentheses that were associated with these categories:

  1. Surgency (silent vs. talkative; secretive vs. frank; cautious vs. adventurous; submissive vs. assertive; and languid, slow vs. energetic)
  2. Agreeableness (spiteful vs. good-natured; obstructive vs. cooperative; suspicious vs. trustful; rigid vs. adaptable; cool, aloof vs. attentive to people; jealous vs. not so; demanding vs. emotionally mature; self-willed vs. mild; and hard, stern vs. kindly)
  3. Dependability (frivolous vs. responsible and unscrupulous vs. conscientious; indolent vs. insistently orderly; quitting vs. persevering; and unconventional vs. conventional)
  4. Emotional Stability (worrying, anxious vs. placid; easily upset vs. poised, tough; changeable vs. emotionally stable; neurotic vs. not so; hypochondriacal vs. not so; and emotional vs. calm)
  5. Culture (boorish vs. intellectual, cultured; clumsy, awkward vs. polished; immature vs. independent-minded; lacking artistic feelings vs. esthetically fastidious, practical, logical vs. imaginative)

Although Tupes and Christal were first, they were not the only psychologists researching the idea of personality clusters.

Two other researchers, Robert R. McCrae and Paul T. Costa, expanded on Tupes and Christal’s work to create the OCEAN Model of personality. McCrae and Costa originally started examining just three parts of the model, openness, neuroticism, and extroversion,44 but the model was later expanded to include both conscientiousness and agreeableness (Figure 3.7).45 Before progressing forward, take a minute and complete one of the many different freely available tests of the Five Factor Model of Personality:

OCEAN standing for Openness, conscientiousness, exraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism.
Figure 3.7 OCEAN Model for Personality (The Big Five)
Openness

Openness refers to “openness to experience,” or the idea that some people are more welcoming of new things. These people are willing to challenge their underlying life assumptions and are more likely to be amenable to differing points of view. Table 3.2 explores some of the traits associated with having both high levels of openness and having low levels of openness.

High Openness Low Openness
Original Conventional
Creative Down to Earth
Complex Narrow Interests
Curious Unadventurous
Prefer Variety Conforming
Independent Traditional
Liberal Unartistic

Table 3.2. Openness

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is the degree to which an individual is aware of their actions and how their actions impact other people. Table 3.3 explores some of the traits associated with having both high levels of conscientiousness and having low levels of conscientiousness.

High Conscientiousness Low Conscientiousness
Careful Negligent
Reliable Disorganized
Hard-Working Impractical
Self-Disciplined Thoughtless
Punctual Playful
Deliberate Quitting
Knowledgeable Uncultured

Table 3.3. Conscientiousness

Extraversion

Extraversion is the degree to which someone is sociable and outgoing. Table 3.4 explores some of the traits associated with having both high levels of extraversion and having low levels of extraversion.

High Extraversion Low Extraversion
Sociable Sober
Fun Loving Reserved
Friendly Quiet
Talkative Unfeeling
Warm Lonely
Person-Oriented Task-Oriented
Dominant Timid

Table 3.4. Extraversion

Agreeableness

Agreeableness is the degree to which someone engages in prosocial behaviors like altruism, cooperation, and compassion. Table 3.5 explores some of the traits associated with having both high levels of agreeableness and having low levels of agreeableness.

High Agreeableness Low Agreeableness
Good-Natured Irritable
Soft Hearted Selfish
Sympathetic Suspicious
Forgiving Critical
Open-Minded Disagreeable
Flexible Cynical
Humble Manipulative

Table 3.5. Agreeableness

Neuroticism

Neuroticism is the degree to which an individual is vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and emotional instability. Table 3.6 explores some of the traits associated with having both high levels of neuroticism and having low levels of neuroticism.

High Neuroticism Low Neuroticism
Nervous Calm
High-Strung Unemotional
Impatient Secure
Envious/Jealous Comfortable
Self-Conscious Not impulse ridden
Temperamental Hardy
Subjective Relaxed

Table 3.6. Neuroticism

Research Spotlight

Research IconIn 2018, Yukti Mehta and Richard Hicks set out to examine the relationship between the Big Five Personality Types (openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, & neuroticism) and the Five Facets of Mindfulness Measure (observation, description, aware actions, non-judgmental inner experience, & nonreactivity). For the purposes of this study, the researchers collapsed the five facets of mindfulness into a single score. The researchers found that openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extroversion were positively related to mindfulness, but neuroticism was negatively related to mindfulness.

Mehta, Y., & Hicks, R. E. (2018). The Big Five, mindfulness, and psychological wellbeing. Global Science and Technology Forum (GSTF) Journal of Psychology, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.5176/2345-7929_4.1.103

Cognitive Dispositions

refer to general patterns of mental processes that impact how people respond and react to the world around them. These dispositions (or one’s natural mental or emotional outlook) take on several different forms. For our purposes, we’ll briefly examine the four identified by John Daly: locus of control, cognitive complexity, authoritarianism/dogmatism, and emotional intelligence.46

Locus of Control

One’s refers to an individual’s perceived control over their behavior and life circumstances. We generally refer to two different loci when discussing locus of control. First, we have people who have an internal locus of control. People with an believe that they can control their behavior and life circumstances. For example, people with an internal dating locus of control would believe that their dating lives are ultimately a product of their behaviors and decisions with regard to dating. In other words, my dating life exists because of my choices. The opposite of internal locus of control is the , or the belief that an individual’s behavior and circumstances exist because of forces outside the individual’s control. An individual with an external dating locus of control would believe that their dating life is a matter of luck or divine intervention. This individual would also be more likely to blame outside forces if their dating life isn’t going as desired. We’ll periodically revisit locus of control in this text because of its importance in a wide variety of interpersonal interactions.

Cognitive Complexity

According to John Daly, cognitive “complexity has been defined in terms of the number of different constructs an individual has to describe others (differentiation), the degree to which those constructs cohere (integration), and the level of abstraction of the constructs (abstractiveness).”47 By differentiation, we are talking about the number of distinctions or separate elements an individual can utilize to recognize and interpret an event. For example, in the world of communication, someone who can attend to another individual’s body language to a great degree can differentiate large amounts of nonverbal data in a way to understand how another person is thinking or feeling. Someone low in differentiation may only be able to understand a small number of pronounced nonverbal behaviors.

Integration, on the other hand, refers to an individual’s ability to see connections or relationships among the various elements he or she has differentiated. It’s one thing to recognize several unique nonverbal behaviors, but it’s the ability to interpret nonverbal behaviors that enables someone to be genuinely aware of someone else’s body language. It would be one thing if I could recognize that someone is smiling, an eyebrow is going up, the head is tilted, and someone’s arms are crossed in front. Still, if I cannot see all of these unique behaviors as a total package, then I’m not going to be able to interpret this person’s actual nonverbal behavior.

The last part of Daly’s definition involves the ability to see levels of abstraction. Abstraction refers to something which exists apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances. For example, if someone to come right out and verbally tell you that he or she disagrees with something you said, then this person is concretely communicating disagreement, so as the receiver of the disagreement, it should be pretty easy to interpret the disagreement. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t tell you he or she disagrees with what you’ve said but instead provides only small nonverbal cues of disagreement, being able to interpret those theoretical cues is attending to communicative behavior that is considerably more abstract.

Overall, cognitive complexity is a critical cognitive disposition because it directly impacts interpersonal relationships. According to Brant Burleson and Scott Caplan,48 cognitive complexity impacts several interpersonal constructs:

  1. Form more detailed and organized impressions of others;
  2. Better able to remember impressions of others;
  3. Better able to resolve inconsistencies in information about others;
  4. Learn complex social information quickly; and
  5. Use multiple dimensions of judgment in making social evaluations.

In essence, these findings clearly illustrate that cognitive complexity is essential when determining the extent to which an individual can understand and make judgments about others in interpersonal interactions.

Authoritarianism/Dogmatism

According to Jason Wrench, James C. McCroskey, and Virginia Richmond, two personality characteristics that commonly impact interpersonal communication are authoritarianism and dogmatism.49 is a form of social organization where individuals favor absolute obedience to authority (or authorities) as opposed to individual freedom. The highly authoritarian individual believes that individuals should just knowingly submit to their power. Individuals who believe in authoritarianism but are not in power believe that others should submit themselves to those who have power.

Dogmatism, although closely related, is not the same thing as authoritarianism. is defined as the inclination to believe one’s point-of-view as undeniably true based on faulty premises and without consideration of evidence and the opinions of others. Individuals who are highly dogmatic believe there is generally only one point-of-view on a specific topic, and it’s their point-of-view. Highly dogmatic individuals typically view the world in terms of “black and white” while missing most of the shades of grey that exist between. Dogmatic people tend to force their beliefs on others and refuse to accept any variation or debate about these beliefs, which can lead to strained interpersonal interactions. Both authoritarianism and dogmatism “tap into the same broad idea: Some people are more rigid than others, and this rigidity affects both how they communicate and how they respond to communication.”50

One closely related term that has received some minor exploration in interpersonal communication is right-wing authoritarianism. According to Bob Altemeyer in his book The Authoritarians (http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf), (RWAs) tend to have three specific characteristics:

  1. RWAs believe in submitting themselves to individuals they perceive as established and legitimate authorities.
  2. RWAs believe in strict adherence to social and cultural norms.
  3. RWAs tend to become aggressive towards those who do not submit to established, legitimate authorities and those who violate social and cultural norms.

Please understand that Altemeyer’s use of the term “right-wing” does not imply the same political connotation that is often associated with it in the United States. As Altemeyer explains, “Because the submission occurs to traditional authority, I call these followers right-wing authoritarians. I’m using the word “right” in one of its earliest meanings, for in Old English ‘right’(pronounced ‘writ’) as an adjective meant lawful, proper, correct, doing what the authorities said of others.”51 Under this definition, right-wing authoritarianism is the perfect combination of both dogmatism and authoritarianism.

Right-wing authoritarianism has been linked to several interpersonal variables. For example, parents/guardians who are RWAs are more likely to believe in a highly dogmatic approach to parenting. In contrast, those who are not RWAs tend to be more permissive in their approaches to parenting.52 Another study found that men with high levels of RWA were more likely to have been sexually aggressive in the past and were more likely to report sexually aggressive intentions for the future.53 Men with high RWA scores tend to be considerably more sexist and believe in highly traditional sex roles, which impacts how they communicate and interact with women.54 Overall, RWA tends to negatively impact interpersonal interactions with anyone who does not see an individual’s specific world view and does not come from their cultural background.

Emotional Intelligence

is an individual’s appraisal and expression of their emotions and the emotions of others in a manner that enhances thought, living, and communicative interactions. Emotional intelligence, while not a new concept, really became popular after Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence.55 Social psychologists had been interested in and studying the importance of emotions long before Goleman’s book, but his book seemed to shed new light on an old idea.56 Goleman drew quite a bit on a framework that was created by two social psychologists named Peter Salovey and John Mayer, who had coined the term “emotional intelligence” in an article in 1990.57 In the Salovey and Mayer framework for emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence consisted of four basic processes. Figure 3.8 pictorially demonstrates the four basic parts of Salovey and Mayer’s Emotional Intelligence Model.

Perceiving emotions: the ability to identify and recognize one's emotions and thos of others around them. Understanding emotions: The ability to understand complex emotions and how they link to other emotions one may be experiencing. Managing emotions: The ability to control emotions in yourself and others. Using emotions: the ability to generate specific emotions and us these emotions within interpersonal interactions with others.
Figure 3.8 Salovey and Mayer’s Emotional Intelligence Model

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is important for interpersonal communication because individuals who are higher in EQ tend to be more sociable and less socially anxious. As a result of both sociability and lowered anxiety, high EQ individuals tend to be more socially skilled and have higher quality interpersonal relationships.

A closely related communication construct originally coined by Melanie and Steven Booth-Butterfield is .58 As it is conceptualized by the Booth-Butterfields, affective orientation (AO) is “the degree to which people are aware of their emotions, perceive them as important, and actively consider their affective responses in making judgments and interacting with others.”59 Under the auspices of AO, the general assumption is that highly affective-oriented people are (1) cognitively aware of their own and others’ emotions, and (2) can implement emotional information in communication with others. Not surprisingly, the Booth-Butterfields found that highly affective-oriented individuals also reported greater affect intensity in their relationships.

Melanie and Steven Booth-Butterfield later furthered their understanding of AO by examining it in terms of how an individual’s emotions drive their decisions in life.60 As the Booth-Butterfields explain, in their further conceptualization of AO, they “are primarily interested in those individuals who not only sense and value their emotions but scrutinize and give them weight to direct behavior.”61 In this sense, the Booth-Butterfields are expanding our notion of AO by explaining that some individuals use their emotions as a guiding force for their behaviors and their lives. On the other end of the spectrum, you have individuals who use no emotional information in how they behave and guide their lives. Although relatively little research has examined AO, the conducted research indicates its importance in interpersonal relationships. For example, in one study, individuals who viewed their parents/guardians as having high AO levels reported more open communication with those parents/guardians.62

Personal-Social Dispositions

refer to general patterns of mental processes that impact how people socially relate to others or view themselves. All of the following dispositions impact how people interact with others, but they do so from very different places. Without going into too much detail, we are going to examine the seven personal-social dispositions identified by John Daly.63

Loneliness

The first social-personal disposition is or an individual’s emotional distress that results from a feeling of solitude or isolation from social relationships. Loneliness can generally be discussed as existing in one of two forms: emotional and social. results when an individual feels that he or she does not have an emotional connection with others. We generally get these emotional connections through our associations with loved ones and close friends. If an individual is estranged from their family or doesn’t have close friendships, then he or she may feel loneliness as a result of a lack of these emotional relationships. , on the other hand, results from a lack of a satisfying social network. Imagine you’re someone who has historically been very social. Still, you move to a new city and find building new social relationships very difficult because the people in the new location are very cliquey. The inability to develop a new social network can lead someone to feelings of loneliness because he or she may feel a sense of social boredom or marginalization.

Loneliness tends to impact people in several different ways interpersonally. Some of the general research findings associated with loneliness have demonstrated that these people have lower self-esteem, are more socially passive, are more sensitive to rejection from others, and are often less socially skilled. Interestingly, lonely individuals tend to think of their interpersonal failures using an internal locus of control and their interpersonal successes externally.64

Depression

is a psychological disorder characterized by varying degrees of disappointment, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, and self-doubt, all of which negatively impact a person’s general mental and physical wellbeing. Depression (and all of its characteristics) is very difficult to encapsulate in a single definition. If you’ve ever experienced a major depressive episode, it’s a lot easier to understand what depression is compared to those who have never experienced one. Depressed people tend to be less satisfied with life and less satisfied with their interpersonal interactions as well. Research has shown that depression negatively impacts all forms of interpersonal relationships: dating, friends, families, work, etc. We will periodically come back to depression as we explore various parts of interpersonal communication.

Self-Esteem

As discussed earlier in this chapter, self-esteem consists of your sense of self-worth and the level of satisfaction you have with yourself; it is how you feel about yourself. A good self-image raises your self-esteem; a poor self-image often results in poor self-esteem, lack of confidence, and insecurity. Not surprisingly, individuals with low self-esteem tend to have more problematic interpersonal relationships.

Narcissism

Ovid’s story of Narcissus and Echo has been passed down through the ages. The story starts with a Mountain Nymph named Echo who falls in love with a human named Narcissus. When Echo reveals herself to Narcissus, he rejects her. In true Roman fashion, this slight could not be left unpunished. Echo eventually leads Narcissus to a pool of water where he quickly falls in love with his reflection. He ultimately dies, staring at himself, because he realizes that his love will never be met.

The modern conceptualization of narcissism is based on Ovid’s story of Narcissus. Today researchers view as a psychological condition (or personality disorder) in which a person has a preoccupation with one’s self, an inflated sense of one’s importance, and longing of admiration from others. Highly narcissistic individuals are completely self-focused and tend to ignore the communicative needs and emotions of others. In fact, in social situations, highly narcissistic individuals strive to be the center of attention.

Anita Vangelisti, Mark Knapp, and John Daly examined a purely communicative form of narcissism they deemed conversational narcissism.65 Conversational narcissism is an extreme focusing of one’s interests and desires during an interpersonal interaction while completely ignoring the interests and desires of another person: Vangelisti, Knapp, and Daly fond four general categories of conversationally narcissistic behavior. First, conversational narcissists inflate their self-importance while displaying an inflated self-image. Some behaviors include bragging, refusing to listen to criticism, praising one’s self, etc. Second, conversational narcissists exploit a conversation by attempting to focus the direction of the conversation on topics of interest to them. Some behaviors include talking so fast others cannot interject, shifting the topic to one’s self, interrupting others, etc. Third, conversational narcissists are exhibitionists, or they attempt to show-off or entertain others to turn the focus on themselves. Some behaviors include primping or preening, dressing to attract attention, being or laughing louder than others, positioning one’s self in the center, etc. Lastly, conversational narcissists tend to have impersonal relationships. During their interactions with others, conversational narcissists show a lack of caring about another person and a lack of interest in another person. Some common behaviors include “glazing over” while someone else is speaking, looking impatient while someone is speaking, looking around the room while someone is speaking, etc. As you can imagine, people engaged in interpersonal encounters with conversational narcissists are generally highly unsatisfied with those interactions.

Machiavellianism

In 1513, Nicolo Machiavelli (Figure 3.9) wrote a text called The Prince (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232-h.htm). Although Machiavelli dedicated the book to Lorenzo di Piero de’ Medici, who was a member of the ruling Florentine Medici family, the book was originally scribed for Lorenzo’s uncle. In The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli unabashedly describes how he believes leaders should keep power. First, he notes that traditional leadership virtues like decency, honor, and trust should be discarded for a more calculating approach to leadership. Most specifically, Machiavelli believed that humans were easily manipulated, so ultimately, leaders can either be the ones influencing their followers or wait for someone else to wield that influence in a different direction.

painted portrait of Machiavelli
Figure 3.9 Nicolo Machiavelli

In 1970, two social psychologists named Richard Christie and Florence Geis decided to see if Machiavelli’s ideas were still in practice in the 20th Century.66 The basic model that Christie and Geis proposed consisted of four basic Machiavellian characteristics:

  1. Lack of affect in interpersonal relationships (relationships are a means to an end);
  2. Lack of concern with conventional morality (people are tools to be used in the best way possible);
  3. Rational view of others not based on psychopathology (people who actively manipulate others must be logical and rational); and
  4. Focused on short-term tasks rather than long-range ramifications of behavior (these individuals have little ideological/organizational commitment).

Imagine working with one of these people. Imagine being led by one of these people. Part of their research consisted of creating a research questionnaire to measure one’s tendency towards . The questionnaire has undergone several revisions, but the most common one is called the Mach IV (http://personality-testing.info/tests/MACH-IV.php).

Interpersonally, highly Machiavellian people tend to see people as stepping stones to get what they want. If talking to someone in a particular manner makes that other people feel good about themself, the Machiavellian has no problem doing this if it helps the Machiavellian get what he or she wants. Ultimately, Machiavellian behavior is very problematic. In interpersonal interactions where the receiver of a Machiavellian’s attempt of manipulation is aware of the manipulation, the receiver tends to be highly unsatisfied with these communicative interactions. However, someone who is truly adept at the art of manipulation may be harder to recognize than most people realize.

Empathy

is the ability to recognize and mutually experience another person’s attitudes, emotions, experiences, and thoughts. Highly empathic individuals have the unique ability to connect with others interpersonally, because they can truly see how the other person is viewing life. Individuals who are unempathetic generally have a hard time taking or seeing another person’s perspective, so their interpersonal interactions tend to be more rigid and less emotionally driven. Generally speaking, people who have high levels of empathy tend to have more successful and rewarding interactions with others when compared to unempathetic individuals. Furthermore, people who are interacting with a highly empathetic person tend to find those interactions more satisfying than when interacting with someone who is unempathetic.

Self-Monitoring

The last of the personal-social dispositions is referred to as self-monitoring. In 1974 Mark Snyder developed his basic theory of , which proposes that individuals differ in the degree to which they can control their behaviors following the appropriate social rules and norms involved in interpersonal interaction.67 In this theory, Snyder proposes that there are some individuals adept at selecting appropriate behavior in light of the context of a situation, which he deems high self-monitors. High self-monitors want others to view them in a precise manner (impression management), so they enact communicative behaviors that ensure suitable or favorable public appearances. On the other hand, some people are merely unconcerned with how others view them and will act consistently across differing communicative contexts despite the changes in cultural rules and norms. Snyder called these people low self-monitors.

Interpersonally, high self-monitors tend to have more meaningful and satisfying interpersonal interactions with others. Conversely, individuals who are low self-monitors tend to have more problematic and less satisfying interpersonal relationships with others. In romantic relationships, high self-monitors tend to develop relational intimacy much faster than individuals who are low self-monitors. Furthermore, high self-monitors tend to build lots of interpersonal friendships with a broad range of people. Low-self-monitors may only have a small handful of friends, but these friendships tend to have more depth. Furthermore, high self-monitors are also more likely to take on leadership positions and get promoted in an organization when compared to their low self-monitoring counterparts. Overall, self-monitoring is an important dispositional characteristic that impacts interpersonal relationships.

Key Takeaways

  • Personality and temperament have many overlapping characteristics, but the basis of them is fundamentally different. Personality is the product of one’s social environment and is generally developed later in one’s life. Temperament, on the other hand, is one’s innate genetic predisposition that causes an individual to behave, react, and think in a specific manner, and it can easily be seen in infants.
  • In both the scientific literature and in pop culture, there are many personality/temperament schemes that involve four specific parts. Table 3.1, in this chapter, showed a range of different personality quizzes/measures/tests that break temperament down into these four generic categories.
  • In this section, we examined a range of different cognitive dispositions or personal-social dispositions. The cognitive dispositions (general patterns of mental processes that impact how people respond and react to the world around them) discussed in this chapter were the locus of control, cognitive complexity, authoritarianism, dogmatism, emotional intelligence, and AO. The social-personal dispositions (general patterns of mental processes that impact how people socially relate to others or view themselves) discussed in this chapter were loneliness, depression, self-esteem, narcissism, Machiavellianism, empathy, and self-monitoring.

Exercises

  • Complete the Keirsey Temperament Sorter®-II (KTS®-II; https://profile.keirsey.com/#/b2c/assessment/start). After finding out your temperament, reflect on what your temperament says about how you interact with people interpersonally.
  • Watch the following animated video over-viewing Daniel Goldman’s book Emotional Intelligence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6MRsGwyMuQ). After watching the video, what did you learn about emotional intelligence? How can you apply emotional intelligence in your own life?
  • Complete the Self-Monitoring Scale created by Mark Snyder (http://personality-testing.info/tests/SM.php). After finishing the scale, what do your results say about your ability to adapt to changing interpersonal situations and contexts?

3.3 Communication & Relational Dispositions

Learning Objectives

  1. List and explain the different personality traits associated with Daly’s communication dispositions.
  2. List and explain the different personality traits associated with Daly’s relational dispositions.

In the previous section, we explored the importance of temperament, cognitive dispositions, and personal-social dispositions. In this section, we are going to explore the last two dispositions discussed by John Daly: communication and relational dispositions.68

Communication Dispositions

Now that we’ve examined cognitive and personal-social dispositions, we can move on and explore some intrapersonal dispositions studied specifically by communication scholars. are general patterns of communicative behavior. We are going to explore the nature of introversion/extraversion, approach and avoidance traits, argumentativeness/verbal aggressiveness, and lastly, sociocommunicative orientation.

Introversion/Extraversion

The concept of / is one that has been widely studied by both psychologists and communication researchers. The idea is that people exist on a continuum that exists from highly extraverted (an individual’s likelihood to be talkative, dynamic, and outgoing) to highly introverted (an individual’s likelihood to be quiet, shy, and more reserved). Before continuing, take a second and fill out the Introversion Scale created by James C. McCroskey and available on his website (http://www.jamescmccroskey.com/measures/introversion.htm). There is a considerable amount of research that has found an individual’s tendency toward extraversion or introversion is biologically based.69 As such, where you score on the Introversion Scale may largely be a factor of your genetic makeup and not something you can alter greatly.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, individuals who score highly on extraversion tended to be perceived by others as intelligent, friendly, and attractive. As such, extraverts tend to have more opportunities for interpersonal communication; it’s not surprising that they tend to have better communicative skills when compared to their more introverted counterparts.

Approach and Avoidance Traits

The second set of communication dispositions are categorized as approach and avoidance traits. According to Virginia Richmond, Jason Wrench, and James McCroskey, approach and avoidance traits depict the tendency an individual has to either willingly approach or avoid situations where he or she will have to communicate with others.70 To help us understand the approach and avoidance traits, we’ll examine three specific traits commonly discussed by communication scholars: shyness, communication apprehension, and willingness to communicate.

Shyness

In a classic study conducted by Philip Zimbardo, he asked two questions to over 5,000 participants: Do you presently consider yourself to be a shy person? If “No,” was there ever a period in your life during which you considered yourself to be a shy person?71 The results of these two questions were quite surprising. Over 40% said that they considered themselves to be currently shy. Over 80% said that they had been shy at one point in their lifetimes. Another, more revealing measure of shyness, was created by James C. McCroskey and Virginia Richmond and is available on his website (http://www.jamescmccroskey.com/measures/shyness.htm).72 Before going further in this chapter, take a minute and complete the shyness scale.

According to Arnold Buss, shyness involves discomfort when an individual is interacting with another person(s) in a social situation.73 Buss further clarifies the concept by differentiating between anxious shyness and self-conscious shyness. involves the fear associated with dealing with others face-to-face. Anxious shyness is initially caused by a combination of strangers, novel settings, novel social roles, fear of evaluation, or fear of self-presentation. However, long-term anxious shyness is generally caused by chronic fear, low sociability, low self-esteem, loneliness, and avoidance conditioning. , on the other hand, involves feeling conspicuous or socially exposed when dealing with others face-to-face. Self-conscious shyness is generally initially caused by feelings of conspicuousness, breaches of one’s privacy, teasing/ridicule/bullying, overpraise, or one’s foolish actions. However, long-term self-conscious shyness can be a result of socialization, public self-consciousness, history of teasing/ridicule/bullying, low self-esteem, negative appearance, and poor social skills.

Whether one suffers from anxious or self-conscious shyness, the general outcome is a detriment to an individual’s interpersonal interactions with others. Generally speaking, shy individuals have few opportunities to engage in interpersonal interactions with others, so their communicative skills are not as developed as their less-shy counterparts. This lack of skill practice tends to place a shy individual in a never-ending spiral where he or she always feels just outside the crowd.

Communication Apprehension

James C. McCroskey started examining the notion of anxiety in communicative situations during the late 1960s. Since that time, research on communication apprehension has been one of the most commonly studied variables in the field. McCroskey defined as the fear or anxiety “associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.”74 Although many different measures have been created over the years examining communication apprehension, the most prominent one has been James C. McCroskey’s Personal Report of Communication Apprehension-24 (PRCA-24).75 If you have not done so already, please stop reading and complete the PRCA-24 before going further (http://www.jamescmccroskey.com/measures/prca24.htm).

The PRCA-24 evaluates four distinct types of communication apprehension (CA): interpersonal CA, group CA, meeting CA, and public CA. Interpersonal CA is the one most important to us within this textbook because it examines the extent to which individuals experience fear or anxiety when thinking about or actually interacting with another person (For more on the topic of CA as a general area of study, read Richmond, Wrench, and McCroskey’s book, Communication Apprehension, Avoidance, and Effectiveness).76 Interpersonal CA impacts people’s relationship development almost immediately. In one experimental study, researchers paired people and had them converse for 15 minutes. At the end of the 15-minute conversation, the researchers had both parties rate the other individual. The results indicated that high-CAs (highly communicative apprehensive people) were perceived as less attractive, less trustworthy, and less satisfied than low-CAs (people with low levels of communication apprehension).77 Generally speaking, high-CAs don’t tend to fare well in most of the research in interpersonal communication. Instead of going into too much detail at this point, we will periodically revisit CA as we explore several different topics in this book.

Research Spotlight

Research IconIn 2019, Jason Wrench, Narissra, Punyanunt-Carter, and Adolfo Garcia examined the relationships between mindfulness and religious communication. For our purposes, the researchers examined an individual’s religious CA, or the degree to which people were anxious about communicating with another person about their personally held religious beliefs. In this study, mindful describing and nonreactivity to inner experience was found to be negatively related to religious CA. As the authors note, “mindfulness can help people develop more confidence to communicate their ideas and opinions about religion. Therefore, people would be less apprehensive about communicating about religion” (pg. 13).

Wrench, J. S., Punyanunt-Carter, N. M., & Garcia, A. J. (2019). Understanding college students’ perceptions regarding mindfulness: The impact on intellectual humility, faith development, religious communication apprehension, and religious communication. Journal of Religion and Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-019-00861-3

Willingness to Communicate

The final of our approach and avoidance traits is the willingness to communicate (WTC). James McCroskey and Virginia Richmond originally coined the WTC concept as an individual’s predisposition to initiate communication with others.78 examines an individual’s tendency to initiate communicative interactions with other people. Take a minute and complete the WTC scale available from James C. McCroskey’s website (http://www.jamescmccroskey.com/measures/WTC.htm).

People who have high WTC levels are going to be more likely to initiate interpersonal interactions than those with low WTC levels. However, just because someone is not likely to initiate conversations doesn’t mean that he or she is unable to actively and successfully engage in interpersonal interactions. For this reason, we refer to WTC as an approach trait because it describes an individual’s likelihood of approaching interactions with other people. As noted by Richmond et al., “People with a high WTC attempt to communicate more often and work harder to make that communication effective than people with a low WTC, who make far fewer attempts and often aren’t as effective at communicating.”79

Argumentativeness/Verbal Aggressiveness

Starting in the mid-1980s, Dominic Infante and Charles Wigley defined as “the tendency to attack the self-concept of individuals instead of, or in addition to, their positions on topics of communication.”80 Notice that this definition specifically is focused on the attacking of someone’s self-concept or an individual’s attitudes, opinions, and cognitions about one’s competence, character, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, if someone perceives themself as a good worker, then a verbally aggressive attack would demean that person’s quality of work or their ability to do future quality work. In a study conducted by Terry Kinney,81 he found that self-concept attacks happen on three basic fronts: group membership (e.g., “Your whole division is a bunch of idiots!”), personal failings (e.g., “No wonder you keep getting passed up for a promotion!”), and relational failings (e.g., “No wonder your spouse left you!”).

Now that we’ve discussed what verbal aggression is, we should delineate verbal aggression from another closely related term, argumentativeness. According to Dominic Infante and Andrew Rancer, is a communication trait that “predisposes the individual in communication situations to advocate positions on controversial issues, and to attacking verbally the positions which other people take on these issues.”82 You’ll notice that argumentativeness occurs when an individual attacks another’s positions on various issues; whereas, verbal aggression occurs when an individual attacks someone’s self-concept instead of attack another’s positions. Argumentativeness is seen as a constructive communication trait, while verbal aggression is a destructive communication trait.

Individuals who are highly verbally aggressive are not liked by those around them.83 Researchers have seen this pattern of results across different relationship types. Highly verbally aggressive individuals tend to justify their verbal aggression in interpersonal relationships regardless of the relational stage (new vs. long-term relationship).84 In an interesting study conducted by Beth Semic and Daniel Canary, the two set out to watch interpersonal interactions and the types of arguments formed during those interactions based on individuals’ verbal aggressiveness and argumentativeness.85 The researchers had friendship-dyads come into the lab and were asked to talk about two different topics. The researchers found that highly argumentative individuals did not differ in the number of arguments they made when compared to their low argumentative counterparts. However, highly verbally aggressive individuals provided far fewer arguments when compared to their less verbally aggressive counterparts. Although this study did not find that highly argumentative people provided more (or better) arguments, highly verbally aggressive people provided fewer actual arguments when they disagreed with another person. Overall, verbal aggression and argumentativeness have been shown to impact several different interpersonal relationships, so we will periodically revisit these concepts throughout the book.

Sociocommunicative Orientation

In the mid to late 1970s, Sandra Bem began examining psychological gender orientation.86 In her theorizing of psychological gender, Bem measured two constructs, masculinity and femininity, using a scale she created called the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI–http://garote.bdmonkeys.net/bsri.html). Her measure was designed to evaluate an individual’s femininity or masculinity. Bem defined masculinity as individuals exhibiting perceptions and traits typically associated with males, and femininity as individuals exhibiting perceptions and traits usually associated with females. Individuals who adhered to both their biological sex and their corresponding psychological gender (masculine males, feminine females) were considered sex-typed. Individuals who differed between their biological sex and their corresponding psychological gender (feminine males, masculine females) were labeled cross-sex typed. Lastly, some individuals exhibited both feminine and masculine traits, and these individuals were called androgynous.

Virginia Richmond and James McCroskey opted to discard the biological sex-biased language of “masculine” and “feminine” for the more neutral language of “assertiveness” and “responsiveness.”87 The combination of assertiveness and responsiveness was called someone’s , which emphasizes that Bem’s notions of gender are truly representative of communicator traits and not one’s biological sex. Before talking about the two factors of sociocommunicative orientation, please take a few minutes to complete the Sociocommunicative Orientation Scale (http://www.jamescmccroskey.com/measures/sco.htm).88

Responsiveness

refers to an individual who “considers other’s feelings, listens to what others have to say, and recognizes the needs of others.”89 If you filled out the Sociocommunicative Orientation Scale, you would find that the words associated with responsiveness include the following: helpful, responsive to others, sympathetic, compassionate, sensitive to the needs of others, sincere, gentle, warm, tender, and friendly.

Assertiveness

refers to individuals who “can initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations, according to their interpersonal goals.”90 If you filled out the Sociocommunicative Orientation Scale, you would find that the words associated with assertiveness include the following: defends own beliefs, independent, forceful, has a strong personality, assertive, dominant, willing to take a stand, acts as a leader, aggressive, and competitive.

Versatility

Communication always exists within specific contexts, so picking a single best style to communicate in every context simply can’t be done because not all patterns of communication are appropriate or effective in all situations. As such, McCroskey and Richmond added a third dimension to the mix that they called .91 In essence, individuals who are competent communicators know when it is both appropriate and effective to use both responsiveness and assertiveness. The notion of pairing the two terms against each other did not make sense to McCroskey and Richmond because both were so important. Other terms scholars have associated with versatility include “adaptability, flexibility, rhetorical sensitivity, and style flexing.”92 The opposite of versatility was also noted by McCroskey and Richmond, who saw such terms as dogmatic, rigid, uncompromising, and unyielding as demonstrating the lack of versatility.

Sociocommunicative Orientation and Interpersonal Communication

Sociocommunicative orientation has been examined in several studies that relate to interpersonal communication. In a study conducted by Brian Patterson and Shawn Beckett, the researchers sought to see the importance of sociocommunicative orientation and how people repair relationships.93 Highly assertive individuals were found to take control of repair situations. Highly responsive individuals, on the other hand, tended to differ in their approaches to relational repair, depending on whether the target was perceived as assertive or responsive. When a target was perceived as highly assertive, the responsive individual tended to let the assertive person take control of the relational repair process. When a target was perceived as highly responsive, the responsive individual was more likely to encourage the other person to self-disclose and took on the role of the listener. As a whole, highly assertive individuals were more likely to stress the optimism of the relationship, while highly responsive individuals were more likely to take on the role of a listener during the relational repair. Later in this book, we will revisit several different interpersonal communication contexts where sociocommunicative orientation has been researched.

Relational Dispositions

The final three dimensions proposed by John Daly were relational dispositions.94 are general patterns of mental processes that impact how people view and organize themselves in relationships. For our purposes, we’ll examine two unique relational dispositions: attachment and rejection sensitivity.

Attachment

In a set of three different volumes, John Bowlby theorized that humans were born with a set of inherent behaviors designed to allow proximity with supportive others.95 These behaviors were called attachment behaviors, and the supportive others were called attachment figures. Inherent in Bowlby’s model of attachment is that humans have a biological drive to attach themselves with others. For example, a baby’s crying and searching help the baby find their attachment figure (typically a parent/guardian) who can provide care, protection, and support. Infants (and adults) view attachment as an issue of whether an attachment figure is nearby, accessible, and attentive? Bowlby believed that these interpersonal models, which were developed in infancy through thousands of interactions with an attachment figure, would influence an individual’s interpersonal relationships across their entire life span. According to Bowlby, the basic internal working model of affection consists of three components.96 Infants who bond with their attachment figure during the first two years develop a model that people are trustworthy, develop a model that informs the infant that he or she is valuable, and develop a model that informs the infant that he or she is effective during interpersonal interactions. As you can easily see, not developing this model during infancy leads to several problems.

If there is a breakdown in an individual’s relationship with their attachment figure (primarily one’s mother), then the infant would suffer long-term negative consequences. Bowlby called his ideas on the importance of mother-child attachment and the lack thereof as the . Bowlby hypothesized that maternal deprivation occurred as a result of separation from or loss of one’s mother or a mother’s inability to develop an attachment with her infant. This attachment is crucial during the first two years of a child’s life. Bowlby predicted that children who were deprived of attachment (or had a sporadic attachment) would later exhibit delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression, and – the inability to show affection or care about others.

In 1991, Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz expanded on Bowlby’s work developing a scheme for understanding adult attachment.97 In this study, Bartholomew and Horowitz proposed a model for understanding adult attachment. On one end of the spectrum, you have an individual’s abstract image of themself as being either worthy of love and support or not. On the other end of the spectrum, you have an individual’s perception of whether or not another person will be trustworthy/available or another person is unreliable and rejecting. When you combine these dichotomies, you end up with four distinct attachment styles (as seen in Figure 3.10).

A two by two grid presented as puzzle pieces. The left side is labelled as "Model of Other: trustworthy/available v. unreliable/rejecting), and the top is labelled "Model of self, worthy of love and support vs. not worthy" at the top left and upper left side is labelled "positive (low)" and the top right and lower left side are labelled "negative (high)". From the top right the boxes say: Secure: comfortable with intimacy and atonomy, Preoccupied: preoccupied with relationships, Fearful: Fearful of intimacy; socially avoidant, and Dismissing: Dismissing of intimacy; counter-dependent.
Figure 3.10 Attachment Styles

The first attachment style is labeled “,” because these individuals believe that they are loveable and expect that others will generally behave in accepting and responsive ways within interpersonal interactions. Not surprisingly, secure individuals tend to show the most satisfaction, commitment, and trust in their relationships. The second attachment style, , occurs when someone does not perceive themself as worthy of love but does generally see people as trustworthy and available for interpersonal relationships. These individuals would attempt to get others to accept them. The third attachment style, (sometimes referred to as fearful avoidants),98 represents individuals who see themselves as unworthy of love and generally believe that others will react negatively through either deception or rejection. These individuals simply avoid interpersonal relationships to avoid being rejected by others. Even in communication, fearful people may avoid communication because they simply believe that others will not provide helpful information or others will simply reject their communicative attempts. The final attachment style, , reflects those individuals who see themselves as worthy of love, but generally believes that others will be deceptive and reject them in interpersonal relationships. These people tend to avoid interpersonal relationships to protect themselves against disappointment that occurs from placing too much trust in another person or making one’s self vulnerable to rejection.

Rejection Sensitivity

Although no one likes to be rejected by other people in interpersonal interactions, most of us do differ from one another in how this rejection affects us as humans. We’ve all had our relational approaches (either by potential friends or dating partners) rejected at some point and know that it kind of sucks to be rejected. The idea that people differ in terms of degree in how sensitive they are to rejection was first discussed in the 1930s by a German psychoanalyst named Karen Horney.99 can be defined as the degree to which an individual expects to be rejected, readily perceives rejection when occurring, and experiences an intensely adverse reaction to that rejection.

First, people that are highly sensitive to rejection expect that others will reject them. This expectation of rejection is generally based on a multitude of previous experiences where the individual has faced real rejection. Hence, they just assume that others will reject them.

Second, people highly sensitive to rejection are more adept at noting when they are being rejected; however, it’s not uncommon for these individuals to see rejection when it does not exist. Horney explains perceptions of rejection in this fashion:

It is difficult to describe the degree of their sensitivity to rejection. Change in an appointment, having to wait, failure to receive an immediate response, disagreement with their opinions, any noncompliance with their wishes, in short, any failure to fulfill their demands on their terms, is felt as a rebuff. And a rebuff not only throws them back on their basic anxiety, but it is also considered equivalent to humiliation. 100

As we can see from this short description from Horney, rejection sensitivity can occur from even the slightest perceptions of being rejected.

Lastly, individuals who are highly sensitive to rejection tend to react negatively when they feel they are being rejected. This negative reaction can be as simple as just not bothering to engage in future interactions or even physical or verbal aggression. The link between the rejection and the negative reaction may not even be completely understandable to the individual. Horney explains, “More often the connection between feeling rebuffed and feeling irritated remains unconscious. This happens all the more easily since the rebuff may have been so slight as to escape conscious awareness. Then a person will feel irritable, or become spiteful and vindictive or feel fatigued or depressed or have a headache, without the remotest suspicion why.”101 Ultimately, individuals with high sensitivity to rejection can develop a “why bother” approach to initiating new relationships with others. This fear of rejection eventually becomes a self-induced handicap that prevents these individuals from receiving the affection they desire.

As with most psychological phenomena, this process tends to proceed through a series of stages. Horney explains that individuals suffering from rejection sensitivity tend to undergo an eight-step cycle:

  1. Fear of being rejected.
  2. Excessive need for affection (e.g., demands for exclusive and unconditional love).
  3. When the need is not met, they feel rejected.
  4. The individual reacts negatively (e.g., with hostility) to the rejection.
  5. Repressed hostility for fear of losing the affection.
  6. Unexpressed rage builds up inside.
  7. Increased fear of rejection.
  8. Increased need for relational reassurance from a partner.

Of course, as an individual’s need for relational reassurance increases, so does their fear of being rejected, and the perceptions of rejection spiral out of control.

As you may have guessed, there is a strong connection between John Bowlby’s attachment theory102 and Karen Horney’s theory of rejection sensitivity. As you can imagine, rejection sensitivity has several implications for interpersonal communication. In a study conducted by Geraldine Downey, Antonio Freitas, Benjamin Michaelis, and Hala Khouri, the researchers wanted to track high versus low rejection sensitive individuals in relationships and how long those relationships lasted.103 The researchers also had the participants complete the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire created by Geraldine Downey and Scott Feldman.104 The study started by having couples keep diaries for four weeks, which helped the researchers develop a baseline perception of an individual’s sensitivity to rejection during the conflict. After the initial four-week period, the researchers revisited the participants one year later to see what had happened. Not surprisingly, high rejection sensitive individuals were more likely to break up during the study than their low rejection sensitivity counterparts.

Key Takeaways

  • The idea is that people exist on a continuum from highly extraverted (an individual’s likelihood to be talkative, dynamic, and outgoing) to highly introverted (an individual’s likelihood to be quiet, shy, and more reserved). Generally speaking, highly extraverted individuals tend to have a greater number of interpersonal relationships, but introverted people tend to have more depth in the handful of relationships they have.
  • In this chapter, three approach and avoidance traits were discussed: willingness to communicate, shyness, and communication apprehension. Willingness to communicate refers to an individual’s tendency to initiate communicative interactions with other people. Shyness refers to discomfort when an individual is interacting with another person(s) in a social situation. Communication apprehension is the fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons. Where WTC examines initiation of interpersonal interactions, shyness discusses actual reserved interpersonal behavior, and CA is focused on the anxiety experienced (or perceived) in interpersonal interactions.
  • Argumentativeness refers to an individual’s tendency to engage in the open exchange of ideas in the form of arguments; whereas, verbal aggressiveness is the tendency to attack an individual’s self-concept instead of an individual’s arguments.
  • Sociocommunicative orientation refers to an individual’s combination of both assertive and responsive communication behaviors. Assertive communication behaviors are those that initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations according to their interpersonal goals during interpersonal interactions. Responsive communication behaviors are those that consider others’ feelings, listens to what others have to say, and recognizes the needs of others during interpersonal interactions. Individuals who can appropriately and effectively utilize assertive and responsive behaviors during interpersonal communication across varying contexts are referred to as versatile communicators (or competent communicators).
  • John Bowlby’s theory of attachment starts with the basic notion that infants come pre-equipped with a set of behavioral skills that allow them to form attachments with their parents/guardians (specifically their mothers). When these attachments are not formed, the infant will grow up being unable to experience a range of healthy attachments later in life, along with several other counterproductive behaviors.
  • Karen Horney’s concept of rejection sensitivity examines the degree to which an individual anxiously expects to be rejected, readily perceives rejection when occurring, and experiences an intensely negative reaction to that rejection. People that have high levels of rejection sensitivity tend to create relational cycles that perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy of rejection in their interpersonal relationships.

Exercises

  • Fill out the various measures discussed in this section related to communication. After completing these measures, how can your communication traits help explain your interpersonal relationships with others?
  • Watch a segment of a political debate on YouTube. Would you characterize debates as argumentative, verbally aggressive, or something else entirely? Why?
  • John Bowlby’s attachment theory and Karen Horney’s theory of rejection sensitivity have theoretical overlaps. Do you think that an individual’s early attachment can lead to higher levels of rejection sensitivity? Why or why not?

Key Terms

affectionless psychopathy

The inability to show affection or care about others.

affective orientation

An individual’s recognition of their own emotions and the emotions of others and reliance on these emotions during decision making processes.

anxious shyness

The fear associated with dealing with others face-to-face.

argumentativeness

Communication trait that predisposes the individual in communication situations to advocate positions on controversial issues, and to attack verbally the positions which other people take on these issues.

assertiveness

The degree to which an individual can initiate, maintain, and terminate conversations, according to their interpersonal goals during interpersonal interactions.

authoritarianism

A form of social organization where individuals favor absolute obedience to an authority (or authorities) as opposed to individual freedom.

cognitive dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people respond and react to the world around them.

communication apprehension

The fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons.

communication dispositions

General patterns of communicative behavior.

dismissing attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who see themselves as worthy of love, but generally believe that others will be deceptive and reject them in interpersonal relationships.

depression

A psychological disorder characterized by varying degrees of disappointment, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, self-doubt, all of which negatively impact a person’s general mental and physical wellbeing.

dogmatism

The inclination to believe one’s point-of-view as undeniably true based on insufficient premises and without consideration of evidence and the opinions of others.

emotional intelligence

An individual’s appraisal and expression of their emotions and the emotions of others in a manner that enhances thought, living, and communicative interactions.

emotional loneliness

Form of loneliness that occurs when an individual feels that he or she does not have an emotional connection with others.

empathy

The ability to recognize and mutually experience another person’s attitudes, emotions, experiences, and thoughts.

extraversion

An individual’s likelihood to be talkative, dynamic, and outgoing.

external locus of control

The belief that an individual’s behavior and circumstances exist because of forces outside the individual’s control.

fearful attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who see themselves as unworthy of love and generally believe that others will react negatively through either deception or rejection.

ideal-self

The version of yourself that you would like to be, which is created through our life experiences, cultural demands, and expectations of others.

intrapersonal

Something that exists or occurs within an individual’s self or mind.

intrapersonal communication

Communication phenomena that exist within or occurs because of an individual’s self or mind.

internal locus of control

The belief that an individual can control their behavior and life circumstances.

introversion

An individual’s likelihood to be quiet, shy, and more reserved.

locus of control

An individual’s perceived control over their behavior and life circumstances.

loneliness

An individual’s emotional distress that results from a feeling of solitude or isolation from social relationships.

Machiavellianism

Personality trait posed by Richard Christie where cunningness and deceit are exalted as a means of attaining and maintaining power to accomplish specific, self-centered goals.

Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis

Hypothesis posed by John Bowby that predicts that infants who are denied maternal attachment will experience problematic outcomes later in life.

narcissism

A psychological condition (or personality disorder) in which a person has a preoccupation with one’s self.

personality

The combination of traits or qualities such as behavior, emotional stability, and mental attributes that make a person unique.

preoccupied attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who do not perceive themselves as worthy of love, but do generally see people as trustworthy and available for interpersonal relationships.

rejection sensitivity

The degree to which an individual expects to be rejected, readily perceives rejection when occurring, and experiences an intensely negative reaction to that rejection.

relational dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people view and organize themselves in relationships.

responsiveness

The degree to which an individual considers other’s feelings, listens to what others have to say, and recognizes the needs of others during interpersonal interactions.

right-wing authoritarians

Individuals who believe in submitting themselves to established, legitimate authorities; strict adherence to social and cultural norms; and the need to punish those who do not submit to authorities or who violate social and cultural norms.

secure attachment

Attachment style posed by Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz describing individuals who believe that they are lovable and expect that others will generally behave in accepting and responsive ways within interpersonal interactions.

self-concept

An individual’s belief about themself, including the person’s attributes and who and what the self is.

self-conscious shyness

Feeling conspicuous or socially exposed when dealing with others face-to-face.

self-esteem

An individual’s subjective evaluation of their abilities and limitations.

self-image

The view an individual has of themself.

self-monitoring

The theory that individuals differ in the degree to which they can control their behaviors in accordance with the appropriate social rules and norms involved in interpersonal interaction.

self-worth

The degree to which you see yourself as a good person who deserves to be valued and respected.

shyness

Discomfort when an individual is interacting with another person(s) in a social situation.

social loneliness

Form of loneliness that occurs from a lack of a satisfying social network.

social-personal dispositions

General patterns of mental processes that impact how people socially relate to others or view themselves.

sociocommunicative orientation

The degree to which an individual communicates using responsive or assertive communication techniques.

temperament

The genetic predisposition that causes an individual to behave, react, and think in a specific manner.

verbal aggression

The tendency to attack the self-concept of individuals instead of, or in addition to, their positions on topics of communication.

versatility

The degree to which an individual can utilize both responsiveness and assertiveness that is appropriate and effective during various communication contexts and interpersonal interactions.

willingness to communicate

An individual’s tendency to initiate communicative interactions with other people.

Chapter Wrap-Up

In addition to your personality, your biologically based temperament also plays an important role in how you interact with others interpersonally. As discussed in this chapter, your temperament is identifiable at birth, whereas, your personality is something that develops over your lifespan. Although we cannot change the biological aspects of our temperament, we can learn how to adjust our behaviors in light of our temperaments.

3.4 Chapter Exercises

Real-World Case Study

John’s mother, Kathleen, was 16 years old when he was born. Kathleen’s mother had died during her childbirth because she had refused to get cancer treatments, which could have harmed her unborn child. After Kathleen’s birth and her mother’s death, Kathleen’s father was always cold towards his daughter and often blamed her for his wife’s death.

When Kathleen entered her teenage years, she started acting out and started participating in several risky behaviors, which is how she ended up pregnant at 16. After John’s birth, Kathleen was simply ill-equipped to handle a child, let alone attempt to bond with a child. During John’s first two years of life, he was often dropped at Kathleen’s friends’ houses or even her grandmother’s house, and then Kathleen would disappear for days. After two years of attempting to raise John, Kathleen’s grandmother convinced her to put her child up for adoption.

When John was two, he was adopted by Bobby and Priscilla Wright. The couple already had one child, Mikey, and they desperately wanted another child, but Priscilla was unable to have more children, so the addition of John to their family was very welcome. Although Bobby and Priscilla were amazing parents, John always felt somewhat disconnected.

In school, John rarely kept the same friends as he progressed through his education. He found it easy to leave one set of friends behind and create a new set wherever he went. He often found it very odd when people were still friends with people they’d known since birth. This same pattern of behavior continued into adulthood, and John quickly found himself with a small circle of friends. Honestly, he was horrible at keeping up with his friends. It’s not that he didn’t like his friends, but he felt that friends needed to fit into his schedule. As time went by, he quickly found himself with more and more acquaintances and fewer and fewer closer relationships. Even his relationship with his family seemed remote and non-essential. He loved his family, but they were almost out of sight, out of mind since they were on the other side of the country.

When John turned 40, he started trying to figure out how his social and relationship life was in such shambles. He wanted to have relationships with other people but simply didn’t know how.

  1. Based on the information contained in the case, how would you characterize John in this story?
  2. Apply John Bowlby’s theory of attachment to this story.
  3. Apply Karen Horney’s theory of rejection sensitivity to this story.

End-of-Chapter Assessment

  1. Which of the following is NOT one of Charles Horton Cooley’s postulates related to the “looking-glass self?”
    1. Actors learn about themselves in every situation by exercising their imagination to reflect on their social performance.
    2. Actors next imagine what those others must think of them.
    3. Actors assess those perceptions through prior interactions with others.
    4. Actors experience an affective reaction to the imagined evaluation of the other.
  2. Which of the following is the truest statement about the relationship between communication and self-esteem?
    1. There is no relationship between communication and self-esteem.
    2. One’s self-esteem impacts how he/she/they communicate.
    3. One’s communication impacts an individual’s self-esteem.
    4. There is a circular relationship between self-esteem and communication.
  3. Which of John Daly’s personality dispositions refers to general patterns of mental processes that impact how people socially relate to others or view themselves?
    1. Cognitive
    2. Communicative
    3. Relational
    4. Personal-social
  4. Jerry is highly in-tune with his emotions. He generally believes that whatever his feelings are telling him to do, it’s probably the right thing for him to do. What personality trait is Jerry exhibiting?
    1. Cognitive complexity
    2. Affective orientation
    3. Emotional intelligence
    4. Shyness
  5. Which of Kim Bartholomew and Leonard Horowitz’s attachment styles describes individuals who see themselves as unworthy of love and generally believe that others will react negatively through either deception or rejection?
    1. Alienated
    2. Dismissing
    3. Fearful
    4. Secure

Notes

1 Kuhn, M. (1960). Sex-attitudes by age, sex, and professional training. Sociological Quarterly, 9, 39-55.
2 Barker, L. L., & Wiseman, G. (1966). A model of intrapersonal communication. Journal of Communication, 16(3), 172-179. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1966.tb00031.x; pg. 173.
3 Riccillo, S. C. (1994). Phylogenesis: Understanding the biological origins of intrapersonal communication. In D. R. Vocate (Ed.), Intrapersonal communication: Different voices, different minds (pp. 33-56). Lawrence Erlbaum; 35.
4 Baumeister, R. F. (1999). The self in social psychology. Psychology Press. pg. 247.
5 Anderson, N. H. (1968). Likableness ratings of 555 personality-trait words. Journal of Social Psychology, 9, 272-279.
6 Chandler, J. (2018). Likeableness and meaningfulness ratings of 555 (+487) person-descriptive words. Journal of Research in Personality, 72, 50–57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2016.07.005
7 Rogers, C. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the person and the social context (pp. 184-256). McGraw Hill.
8 Crocker, J., Luhtanen, R. K., Cooper, M. L., & Bouvrette, A.. (2012). Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale. Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Science. Retrieved from http://www.midss.org/sites/default/files/contingencies_of_self-worth_scale.pdf
9 Ackerman, C. (2019, May 17). What is self-worth and how do we increase it? Positive Psychology Program. Retrieved from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-worth/
10 Rogers, C. (1959). A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (Ed.), Psychology: A study of a science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the person and the social context (pp. 184-256). McGraw Hill.
11 Cooley, C. H. (1902). Human nature and the social order. Scribner’s; pg. 184. Retrieved from https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Cooley/Cooley_1902/Cooley_1902toc.html
12 Shaffer, L. S. (2005). From mirror self-recognition to the looking-glass self: Exploring the Justification Hypothesis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 61(1), 47–65. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20090
13 Pepping, C. A., O’Donovan, A., & Davis, P. J. (2013). The positive effects of mindfulness on self-esteem. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(5), 376-386. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.807353
14 Pepping, C. A., O’Donovan, A., & Davis, P. J. (2013). The positive effects of mindfulness on self-esteem. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(5), 376-386. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.807353
15 Nauman, E. (2014, March 10). Feeling self-critical? Try mindfulness. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/feeling_self_critical_try_mindfulness
16 Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032
17 Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032; pgs. 86-87.
18 Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032; pg. 87.
19 Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032; pg. 89.
20 Neff, K., & Germer, C. (2018). The mindful self-compassion workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength, and thrive. Guilford.
21 Neff, K., & Germer, C. (2018). The mindful self-compassion workbook: A proven way to accept yourself, build inner strength, and thrive. Guilford; pg. 11.
22 Neff, K. (2003). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2(2), 85-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860309032; pg. 89.
23 Simon, S. B. XE “Simon, S. B.” (1977). Vulture XE “Vulture Statements” : A modern allegory on the art of putting oneself down. Argus Communications.
24 Simon, S. B. XE “Simon, S. B.” (1977). Vulture XE “Vulture Statements” : A modern allegory on the art of putting oneself down. Argus Communications; pgs. 48-49.
25 Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & Gorham, J. (2020). Communication, affect, and learning in the classroom (4th ed.). Authors. http://www.jasonswrench.com/pdf/CommAffect4.pdf
26 Martin, B. (2018). Challenging negative self-talk. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/challenging-negative-self-talk/
27 Daly, J. A. (2002). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (3rd ed., pp. 133-180). Sage; pg. 144.
28 Galton, F. (1875). The history of twins, as a criterion of the relative powers of nature and nurture. Fraser’s Magazine, 12, 566-576. Retrieved from: http://galton.org/essays/1870-1879/galton-1875-history-twins.pdf
29 Galton, F. (1875). The history of twins, as a criterion of the relative powers of nature and nurture. Fraser’s Magazine, 12, 566-576. Retrieved from: http://galton.org/essays/1870-1879/galton-1875-history-twins.pdf; pg. 576.
30 Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., Segal, N. L., & Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Science, 250(4978), 223-228. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.2218526
31 Hoersten, J. (2015, July 28). Reunited after 39 years: A look back at the ‘Jim Twins.’ Lima News. Retrieved from: https://www.limaohio.com/features/lifestyle/147776/reunited-after-39-years
32 Segal, N. L. (2012). Born together – Reared apart: The landmark Minnesota Twin Study. Harvard University Press.
33 Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D. T., McGue, M., Segal, N. L., & Tellegen, A. (1990). Sources of human psychological differences: The Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. Science, 250(4978), 223-228. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.2218526
34 Horvath, C. W. (1995). Biological origins of communicator style. Communication Quarterly, 43(4), 394–407. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379509369987
35 Norton, R. W. (1978). Foundation of a communicator style construct. Human Communication Research, 4(2), 99–112. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1978.tb00600.x
36 Beatty, M. J., Heisel, A. D., Hall, A. E., Levine, T. R., & La France, B. H. (2002). What can we learn from the study of twins about genetic and environmental influences on interpersonal affiliation, aggressiveness, and social anxiety? A meta-analytic study. Communication Monographs, 69(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637750216534
37 Hazel, M., Karst, J., Saezkleriga, G., Wongprasert, T. K., & Ayres, J. (2017). Testing the communibiological paradigm: The similarity of fraternal and identical twins across three communication variables. Northwest Journal of Communication, 45(1), 37–51.
38 Beatty, M. J., Marshall, L. A., & Rudd, J. E. (2001). A twins study of communicative adaptability: Heritability of individual differences. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 87(4), 366–377. https://doi.org/10.1080/00335630109384346
39 Strelau, J. (1987). Emotion as a key concept in temperament research. Journal of Research in Personality, 21, 510-528; pg. 182.
40 Keirsey, D., & Marilyn, B. (1984). Please understand me: Character & temperament types (4th ed.). Prometheus Nemesis.
41 Keirsey, D. (1998) Please understand me II. Prometheus Nemesis.
42 Tupes, E. C., & Christal, R. E. (1958). Stability of personality trait rating factors obtained under diverse conditions. (Technical Note WADC· TN-58-6L) Personnel Laboratory, Wright Air Development Center: Lackland Air Force Base, TX.
43 Tupes, E. C., & Christal, R. E. (1961). Recurrent personality factors based on trait ratings (USAF ASD Technical Report No. 61-97). Aeronautical Systems Division, Personnel Laboratory: Lackland Air Force Base, TX. (Reprinted as Tupes, E. C., & Christal, R. E, [1992]. Recurrent personality factors based on trait ratings. Journal of Personality, 60, 225-251.)
44 McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1983). Joint factors in self-reports and ratings: Neuroticism, extraversion and openness to experience. Personality and Individual Differences, 4(3), 245–255. https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(83)90146-0
45 McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(1), 81–90. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.52.1.81
46 Daly, J. A. (2011). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (4th ed., pp. 131-167). Sage.
47 Daly, J. A. (2002). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (3rd ed., pp. 133-180). Sage; pg. 144.
48 Burleson, B. R., & Caplan, S. E. (1998). Cognitive complexity. In J. C. McCroskey, J. A. Daly, M. M. Martin, & M. J. Beatty (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives (pp. 233-286). Hampton Press; pg. 239.
49 Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in everyday life: Explanations and applications. Allyn & Bacon.
50 Daly, J. A. (2002). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (3rd ed., pp. 133-180). Sage; pg. 144.
51 Altemeyer, B. (2006). The Authoritarians. Winnipeg, Canada, Author; pg. 9.
52 Manuel, L. (2006). Relationship of personal authoritarianism with parenting styles. Psychological Reports, 98(1), 193-198. https://doi.org/10.2466/PR0.98.1.193-198
53 Walker, W. D., Rowe, R. C., & Quinsey, V. L. (1993). Authoritarianism and Sexual Aggression. Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology, 65(5), 1036-1045.
54 Altemeyer, B. (2006). The Authoritarians. Winnipeg, Canada, Author.
55 Goleman, D. P. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ for character, health and lifelong achievement. Bantam Books.
56 Bar-On, R., Parker, J. D. A., & Goleman, D. (2000). The handbook of emotional intelligence: Theory, development, assessment, and application at home, school and in the workplace. Jossey-Bass.
57 Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, 185-211.
58 Booth-Butterfield, M., & Booth-Butterfield, S. (1994). The affective orientation to communication: Conceptual and empirical distinctions. Communication Quarterly, 42(4), 331-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379409369941
59 Booth-Butterfield, M., & Booth-Butterfield, S. (1994). The affective orientation to communication: Conceptual and empirical distinctions. Communication Quarterly, 42(4), 331-344. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379409369941; pg. 332.
60 Booth-Butterfield, M., & Booth-Butterfield, S. (1996). Using your emotions: Improving the measurement of affective orientation. Communication Research Reports, 13(2), 157-163. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099609362082
61 Booth-Butterfield, M., & Booth-Butterfield, S. (1996). Using your emotions: Improving the measurement of affective orientation. Communication Research Reports, 13(2), 157-163. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099609362082; pg. 159.
62 Booth-Butterfield, M., & Sidelinger, R. J. (1997). The relationship between parental traits and open family communication: Affective orientation and verbal aggression. Communication Research Reports, 14(4), 408-417. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099709388684
63 Daly, J. A. (2011). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (4th ed., pp. 131-167). Sage.
64 Anderson, C. A., Miller, R. S., Riger, A. L., Dill, J. C., & Sedikides, C. (1994). Behavioral and chategorlogical attributional styles as predictors of depression and loneliness: Review, refinement, and test. Journal of Personality and Social Relationships, 66(3), 549-558.
65 Vangelisti, A. L., Knapp, M. L., & Daly, J. A. (1990). Conversational narcissism. Communication Monographs, 57(4), 251-274. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637759009376202
66 Christie, R., & Geis, F. L. (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. Academic Press.
67 Snyder, M. (1974). Self-monitoring of expressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(4), 526-537. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0037039
68 Daly, J. A. (2011). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (4th ed., pp. 131-167). Sage.
69 Beatty, M. J., & McCroskey, J. C., & Valencic, K. M. (2001). The biology of communication: A communibiological perspective. Hampton Press.
70 Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & McCroskey, J. C. (2018). Scared speechless: Cmmunication apprehension, avoidance, and effectiveness (7th ed.). Kendall-Hunt.
71 Zimbardo, P. G. (1977). Shyness: What it is, what to do about it. Addison-Wesley.
72 McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1982). Communication apprehension and shyness: Conceptual and operational distinctions. Central States Speech Journal, 33, 458-468.
73 Buss, A. (2009). Anxious and self-conscious shyness. In J. A. Daly, J. C. McCroskey, J. Ayers, T. Hopf, D. M. Ayres Sonandre, & T. K. Wongprasert (Eds.), Avoiding communication: Shyness, reticence, and communication apprehension (3rd ed., pp. 129-148). Hampton Press.
74 McCroskey, J. C. (1977). Classroom consequences of communication apprehension. Communication Education, 26(1), 27-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634527709378196; pg. 28.
75 McCroskey, J. C. (1982). An introduction to rhetorical communication (4th ed.). Prentice-Hall.
76 Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & McCroskey, J. C. (2018). Scared speechless: Cmmunication apprehension, avoidance, and effectiveness (7th ed.). Kendall-Hunt.
77 Colby, N., Hopf, T., & Ayres, J. (1993). Nice to meet you? Inter/intrapersonal perceptions of communication apprehension in initial interactions. Communication Quarterly, 41(2), 221-230. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/01463379309369881
78 McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1987). Willingness to communicate. In J. C. McCroskey & J. A. Daly (Eds.), Personality and interpersonal communication (pp. 129-156). Sage.
79 Richmond, V. P., Wrench, J. S., & McCroskey, J. C. (2013). Communication apprehension, avoidance, and effectiveness (6th ed.). Allyn & Bacon; pg. 18.
80 Infante, D. A., & Wigley, C. J. (1986). Verbal aggressiveness: An interpersonal model and measure. Communication Monographs, 53(1), 61-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637758609376126; pg. 61.
81 Kinney, T. A. (1994). An inductively derived typology of verbal aggression and its relationship to distress. Human Communication Research, 21(2), 183-222. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1994.tb00345.x
82 Infante, D. A., & Rancer, A. S. (1982). A conceptualization and measure of argumentativeness. Journal of Personality Assessment, 46(1), 72-80. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa4601_13 pg. 72.
83 Myers, S. A., & Johnson, A. D. (2003). Verbal aggression and liking in interpersonal relationships. Communication Research Reports, 20(1), 90-96. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824090309388803
84 Martin, M. M., Anderson, C. M., & Horvath, C. L. (1996). Feelings about verbal aggression: Justifications for sending and hurt from receiving verbally aggressive messages. Communication Research Reports, 13(1), 19-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099609362066
85 Semic, B. A., & Canary, D. J. (1997). Trait argumentativeness, verbal aggressiveness, and minimally rational argument: An observational analysis of friendship discussions. Communication Quarterly, 45(4), 354-378. https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379709370071
86 Sandra, B. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42(2), 155–162. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0036215
87 Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1985). Communication apprehension, avoidance, and effectiveness. Gorsuch Scarisbrick.
88 Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1990). Reliability and separation of factors on the assertiveness-responsiveness measure. Psychological Reports, 67(2), 449–450. https://doi.org/10.2466/PR0.67.6.449-450
89 Richmond, V. P., & Martin, M. M. (1998). Sociocommunicative style and sociocommunicative orientation. In J. C. McCroskey, J. A. Daly, M. M. Martin, & M. J. Beatty (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives (pp. 133-148). Hampton Press; pgs. 136-137.
90 Richmond, V. P., & Martin, M. M. (1998). Sociocommunicative style and sociocommunicative orientation. In J. C. McCroskey, J. A. Daly, M. M. Martin, & M. J. Beatty (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives (pp. 133-148). Hampton Press; pg. 136.
91 McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1996). Fundamentals of human communication: An interpersonal perspective. Waveland Press.
92 Richmond, V. P., & Martin, M. M. (1998). Sociocommunicative style and sociocommunicative orientation. In J. C. McCroskey, J. A. Daly, M. M. Martin, & M. J. Beatty (Eds.), Communication and personality: Trait perspectives (pp. 133-148). Hampton Press; pg. 138.
93 Patterson, B. R., & Beckett, C. (1995). A re-examination of relational repair and reconciliation: Impact of socio-communicative style on strategy selection. Communication Research Reports, 12(2), 235–240. https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099509362061
94 Daly, J. A. (2011). Personality and interpersonal communication. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of interpersonal communication (4th ed., pp. 131-167). Sage.
95 Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss, Vol. 1: Attachment. Basic Books.Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss, Vol. 2: Separation. Basic Books.Bowlby, J. (I980). Attachment and loss, Vol. 3: Loss, sadness and depression. Basic Books.
96 Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss, Vol. 1: Attachment. Basic Books.
97 Bartholomew, K., & Horowitz, L. M. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 61(2), 226-244. https://doi.org/ 10.1037/0022-3514.61.2.226
98 Guerrero, L. K., & Burgoon, J. K. (1996). Attachment styles and reactions to nonverbal involvement change in romantic dyads. Human Communication Research, 22(3), 335-370. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.1996.tb00371.x
99 Horney, K. (1937). The neurotic personality of our time. W. W. Norton and Company.
100 Horney, K. (1937). The neurotic personality of our time. W. W. Norton and Company; pg. 135.
101 Horney, K. (1937). The neurotic personality of our time. W. W. Norton and Company; pg. 136.
102 Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss, Vol. 1: Attachment. Basic Books.Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss, Vol. 2: Separation. Basic Books.Bowlby, J. (I980). Attachment and loss, Vol. 3: Loss, sadness and depression. Basic Books.
103 Downey, G., Freitas, A. L., Michaelis, B., & Khouri, H. (1998). The self-fulfilling prophecy in close relationships: Rejection sensitivity and rejection by romantic partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(2), 545-560. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.2.545
104 Downey, G., & Feldman, S. I. (1996). Implications of rejection sensitivity for intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(6), 1327-1343. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.70.6.1327

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Interpersonal Communication by Jason S. Wrench; Narissra M. Punyanunt-Carter; and Katherine S. Thweatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book