Antecedents and Consequences of Awkward Silence A Replication Using Revised Lag Sequential Analysis



    1. Kathryn Dindia (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1982) is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. The author would like to thank Donald Morley, Edward Mabry, Dean Hewes, Kathy Kellermann, Robert McPhee, Art Van Lear, Gloria Santilli, and the anonymous reviewers for help with various aspects of this report.
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McLaughlin and Cody's (1982) study of antecedents and consequences of awkward silence is replicated in this study. McLaughlin and Cody concluded that behavioral sequences before silence in dyads with multiple silences were characterized by a pattern of minimal response by one participant. They also concluded that posts/fence sequences were characterized by the presence of question-answer adjacency pairs. Advances made in our understanding of lag sequential analysis (Allison & Liker, 1982; Morley, in press; Sackett, in press) since their study was conducted indicate that statistics other than those employed in their study are more appropriate. A study of the antecedents and consequences of silence for dyads with multiple silences is reported and analyzed using reuised lag sequential analysis. This study found that silences were preceded by minimal responses at lag 1 and followed by questions at lag 1. However, silences were not followed by answers at lag 2. Additionally, the significant dependencies between minimal responses and silence, and silence and questions accounted for only a very small amount of the variance. Thus, although statistically significant, these dependencies are not theoretically meaningful.