ANTICIPATED SOCIAL COST AND INTERPERSONAL ACCOMODATION

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Abstract

The paper is concerned with demonstrating the value of social cost—a concept derived from a social psychological theory of prejudice—in analyzing the cognitive processes underlying the encoding of convergent speech acts. A study showed that when speakers anticipate meeting socially significant others immediately, the effect on their perceptual processes is to perceive greater similarity to, and less undesirable traits in, such others. It was argued that this reduction of a perceived linguistic distance between a speaker and the interlocutor, termed perceptual convergence, should facilitate the adoption of convergent speech in the former. Areas for further research were discussed.

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