Three field experiments on the effects of violations of conversational distance

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72 Scopus citations


The effects of interpersonal reward and violations of conversational distancing expectations on compliance and interaction behaviors were tested in three retail shopping settings. Subjects were salespeople (N = 70, N = 49, N = 104) who were approached by confederates posing as customers or students conducting interviews on consumer behavior. Two levels of interpersonal reward (high versus low levels of apparent status, attractiveness, purchasing power and/or expertise) and three levels of distance (close violation, norm, far violation) were manipulated. Results showed high reward to induce more compliance with a request and more favorable interaction patterns than low reward. Distance violations evoked more arousal, activation and apparent distraction, while the favorability of reactions to distance violations tended to vary by reward level, as expected. Confounding effects of gender, confederate communication style, and possible nonverbal norms for compensation and reciprocity are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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