The fundamental topoi of relational communication

Judee K. Burgoon, Jerold L. Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

389 Scopus citations


Relational communication has traditionally been conceptualized as operating along two or three dimensions. An elaborated view of relational message themes is presented here. Based on a synthesis of diverse bodies of literature, including anthropological and psychotherapeutic analyses of human behavior, intraspecific displays, measurement of meaning, emotional expression, interpersonal evaluations (credibility, attraction, similarity, impression management), relational definitions and development, dyadic and group interaction categories, and nonverbal and interpersonal behavior, a schema of 12 conceptually distinct dimensions is adduced: dominance-submission, intimacy, affection-hostility, intensity of involvement, inclusion-exclusion, trust, depth-superficiality, emotional arousal, composure, similarity, formality, and task-social orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-214
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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