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ERIC Number: ED422597
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Pages: 39
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Determinants of Equivocation: The Influence of Situational Formality, Interaction Phase, and Ambiguity Tolerance.
Bello, Richard
A study revisited the question of the causes of interpersonal equivocation, arguing that, although the previous research of Bavelas and associates has shown conclusively that interpersonal communicators in avoidance-avoidance binds equivocate to avoid the bind's dilemma, researchers have largely ignored other conceivable antecedents of interpersonal equivocation. The study attempts to experimentally demonstrate the existence of other such antecedents. Subjects, 153 university students recruited from communication classes, responded to forced-choice scenarios which manipulated the level of situational formality (informal or formal) and interaction phase (initial or middle). Additionally, subjects completed a modified version of the MAT-50 as a measure of their ambiguity tolerance. Their responses were scaled for equivocation by comparing them to the equivocation rankings assigned to the possible choices by a panel of judges trained in its basic definition and dimensions. Results indicated subjects equivocated more in formal situations and ambiguity tolerance interacted with both formality level and interaction phase to influence equivocation. Specifically, the differences in equivocation from informal to formal situations and from initial to middle phases of the conversation were greatest for those lowest in ambiguity tolerance. Findings are discussed in light of speech accommodation theory (SAT), a model for guiding new research into equivocation. Research could be extended by studies examining ambiguity tolerance and its impact on equivocation; by exploring other individual traits that might be predictive of equivocation; and by exploring whether communicators have a perception of situational characteristics. (Contains 2 tables of data and 40 references; an appendix contains "model scenarios.") (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A