Strategic Interpersonal Communication

By John A. Daly; John M. Wiemann | Go to book overview

almost no investigations (except Gendrin & Honeycutt, 1988) that have empirically tapped behaviors associated with affinity. Instead, the research relies almost exclusively on self-reports and general ratings of others. It is time we examine the behavioral ways people go about getting others to like them. Second, scholars need to start explicating, and testing, the various theoretic issues involved in affinity. Research reviewed in this chapter is almost entirely descriptive, detailing correlates of affinity. But what of the process involved in affinity? We know far less about these aspects, and all the demographics of affinity one wishes to explore will not replace solid studies of the underlying dynamics of the process. Third, the existing research on topics tied to the affinity construct needs to be integrated within the model and within the typology. For reasons of space we limit the bulk of our discussion to studies that used, or started with, the Bell and Daly ( 1984) typology. But the construct is far more than the typology. Future scholarship should attempt to integrate the vast literatures associated with both the model and the individual categories composing the typology. In addition, the methods used in many of these studies are questionable on both logical and measurement theory grounds. For instance, when people are presented with checklists of alternatives, responses are suspect because people may mark off things that have little to do with what actually would come to mind if they were unprompted. More importantly, what people say they do, and what they actually do (behaviorally), doesn't always match. Affinity scholars need to deal with issues such as these. Finally, future scholarship needs to better delineate the outcome measure--what liking is and how it is measured. Surprisingly little scholarship has considered the definitional, measurement, and methodological issues involved in clearly explicating what liking means to people. People often decide to "make" others like them. How they go about doing this is what affinity is all about. The beginnings are there.


REFERENCES

Bell R. A., & Daly J. A. ( 1984). "The affinity-seeking function of communication". Communication Monographs, 51, 91-115.

Bell R. A., Daly J. A., & Gonzales C. ( 1987). "Affinity-maintenance strategies in marital relations". Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 445-454.

Bell R. A., Tremblay S. W., & Buerkel-Rothfuss N. L. ( 1987). "Interpersonal attraction as a communication accomplishment: Development of a measure of affinity-seeking competence". Western Journal of Speech Communication, 51, 1-18.

Berscheid E., & Walster E. ( 1974). "Physical attractiveness". In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 7, pp. 157-215). New York: Academic Press.

Buerkel-Rothfuss N. L. & Bell R. A. ( 1987). "Validity of the affinity-seeking instrument". Communication Research Reports, 4, 24-30.

Buss D. M. ( 1989). "Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures". Behavioral and Brain Scinces, 12, 1-14.

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