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Trait Agreeableness and Social Status Moderate Behavioral Responsiveness to Communal Behavior


  • This article was written in part during the first author's residence as a postdoctoral fellow, supported by Ministère de l'Education, du Loisir et du Sport, at McGill University. Funding was provided in part by the National Social Science Fund (11CSH0431), the major project of NSSF (12&ZD2181), the Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science project (10YJCXLX0511), the Fund from Asia Research Center1 in Nankai University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (410-2010-11682). We thank Gentiana Sadikaj for her advice on some analyses.


The present study examined the influence of trait Agreeableness and its interaction with social role status on interpersonal correspondence as reflected in the within-person relation between a person's communal (agreeable-quarrelsome) behavior and perceptions of the interaction partner's communal behavior. We used a sample of working adults (original data set: 113 participants and 12,303 interpersonal events; constrained data set in the work setting: 109 participants and 3,193 interpersonal events) and an event-contingent recording procedure to assess behavior in naturalistic interpersonal events. The results of multilevel modeling indicated that interpersonal correspondence was lower for high trait Agreeableness persons than for low trait Agreeableness persons, apparently due to less responsiveness to more disagreeable behavior by the other person in an interaction. High Agreeableness persons manifest greater interpersonal correspondence when in a high-status role than when in a low-status role, apparently by increasing responsiveness to disagreeable behavior from others. The results imply that high social role status may influence the effortful control process of high trait Agreeableness persons over their behavioral reactions to others' disagreeable behavior during interpersonal interactions.

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