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Observations of Dyadic Power in Interpersonal Interaction

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Abstract:

Power and dominance are widely recognized as fundamental concepts in the study of human relationships. A theory of power, Dunbar's dyadic power theory (DPT), was tested experimentally by manipulating power in interactions with confederate strangers. Participants' verbal and nonverbal dominance behaviors were coded from videotapes of their interactions. DPT proposes that individuals will display more dominance in equal power relationships than in unequal relationships and increasing an individual's relative power will increase that individual's satisfaction with the encounter. The results revealed that the equal-power and unequal high-power conditions displayed more dominance and were more satisfied than those in the unequal low-power conditions but those in the unequal-high power condition were the least affected by their partners and maintained the most control over the partnership's decisions. Implications for DPT and the relationship between microlevel dominance behaviors and the macrolevel impressions of dominant interactants are discussed.

Keywords: Dyadic Power; Interpersonal Dominance; Interpersonal Interaction; Nonverbal Communication; Observations

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2010.520018

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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