Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory, and Practice

By Owen Hargie; David Dickson | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Rewarding and reinforcing

INTRODUCTION

A BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING behaviour is that people tend to do things associated with positively valued outcomes for them. In contrast, they usually do not persist with alternative actions that from past experience have produced little of consequence, or even unwanted effects. Positively valued outcomes can of course take many forms. Some (e.g. obtaining food, water, and shelter) are necessary for physical survival, while others (e.g. attractive company) are less basic but still important. Events that are even less tangible, yet highly valued just the same, include positive features of interpersonal contact mentioned as examples in Box 4.1. A friendly smile, a word of praise, warm congratulations, generous applause or enthusiastic response from an attentive listener are all reactions that we, from time to time, find appealing. Not only do we find them appealing, we tend to act in ways that bring them about. The fact that such reactions can influence what we do in this manner, by making it more likely that we will engage in certain behaviours in preference to others, is central to the concept of reinforcement as an interpersonal skill.

As mentioned in Chapter 1, the ability to get and give rewards features prominently in attempts to define interpersonal skill. Deficits in this respect can have grave personal and interpersonal consequences. In a review of the area, Segrin and Flora (2000) found evidence linking poor social skills, inability to gain positive reinforcement and depression. Social inadequacy also seems to be associated with loneliness and social anxiety. Having the potential to reward (i.e. rewardingness) is therefore a key dimension of interpersonal interaction that plays a

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Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory, and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Boxes ix
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction- The Importance of Interpersonal Skills 1
  • Chapter 2 - Interpersonal Communication:A Skill-Based Model 11
  • Chapter 3 - Nonverbal Communication 43
  • Chapter 4 - Rewarding and Reinforcing 81
  • Chapter 5 - Questioning 115
  • Chapter 6 - Reflecting 147
  • Chapter 7 - Listening 169
  • Chapter 8 - Explaining 197
  • Chapter 9 - Self-Disclosure 223
  • Chapter 10 - Set Induction and Closure 259
  • Chapter 1- 1 - Assertiveness 291
  • Chapter 12 - Influence and Persuasion 325
  • Chapter 13 - Negotiating 369
  • Chapter 14 - Groups and Group Interaction 401
  • Chapter 15 - Concluding Comments 439
  • References 443
  • Name Index 509
  • Subject Index 521
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