Question-Asking in Same- and Opposite-Sex Initial Interactions The Effects of Anticipated Future Interaction

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Abstract

The present analysis examined interlocutors’ question-asking under high, moderate, and low levels of anticipated future interaction. Anticipated future interaction with another is presumed to increase persons'motivation to reduce their uncertainty. Prior to conversation, for example, observers engage in higher levels of information-seeking when they expect to meet the target. However, examination of subjects’ use of question-asking strategies suggested this effect does not extend to ongoing interaction. Instead, highest levels of mutual interrogation occurred at moderate levels of anticipated future interaction, in dyads required to negotiate a second encounter. The extent to which interlocutors control subsequent interaction has not been previously identified as a determinant of either uncertainty or uncertainty reduction. Such increased question-asking may be a function of actors’ desire to avoid negative conversational outcomes, a desire that becomes especially salient when actors are allowed to select their social partners.

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