ERIC Number: ED221890
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
Actors, Observers, and the Attribution of Intent in Conversation.
Ehrenhaus, Peter C.
A study examined the manner in which conversants and observers of conversants attribute intent to messages in ongoing information-seeking conversations. College students were used to evolve and test three scenarios, in which evasion was more or less likely, and a system of classifying intention in information seeking conversations. Fifty-four subjects from the same pool were given instructions and videotaped in 27 conversations, 9 in each of the 3 scenarios. The 27 pairs of subjects then coded their own conversations as actors and 1 conversation from each of the other 2 scenarios as observers. Results indicated that (1) a direct relationship exists between the certainty coders had about the likely use of evasion and the agreement between paired coders' attributions of intention in conversation; (2) widely disparate conclusions often exist between actors and observers regardless of initial expectations; and (3) actors' and observers' ability to agree among themselves improves with conversational length but is inversely related to their initial certainty for the conversations. One implication of these findings is that conversational involvement appears to be a crucial factor influencing attributions in equivocal conversational situations. (JL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Boston, MA, May 2-5, 1982).