On Numbers, Narratives,
and Insights Regarding
Raymond W Preiss and Mike Allen
The study of interpersonal communication is one of the more vibrant domains for social scientific theorizing and investigation. This interest is warranted, as the dyad has long been viewed as the nexus for message exchange and relationship evolution. As might be expected in an area dedicated to the study of the nuances and perplexities of social discourse, the complexity of the relational issues embedded in the interpersonal context is both intriguing and bewildering. Those interested in systematically understanding the richness of social life must address germinal issues: how and why individuals are attracted to certain others, how talk synchronizes perceptions and behaviors, or how and why individuals employ strategic messages to achieve relational outcomes. Of course, the list of “fundamental” issues is long and our journals provide a record of the conversations between scholars seeking adherence to various positions on that long list.
This book is about those conversations. Contributors approach their tasks from various perspectives and with numerous agendas. All of us, however, share the commitment to establish reliable generalizations about interpersonal communication in ways that can be properly described as “scientific.” We search for stable, unbiased, predictable generalizations that operate within clearly defined interpersonal parameters (see Allen & Preiss,