Interpersonal Argumentation
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
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Dyadic power theory (DPT; Dunbar 2004) predicts that equal and unequal-power dyads will seek to persuade one another differently because they use different control attempts. This paper seeks to expand the theory’s definition of control attempts beyond dominance by examining convergence behavior, topic avoidance, aggression, deception, and affection or support. Participants answered a survey about the way they interact with an interpersonal partner who is lower in power, equal in power, or higher in power than themselves. Results reveal that, consistent with DPT, equal power partners were more likely than high or low power partners to use a control attempt that emphasized equilibrium, and were more likely to use verbal affection and social support. However, equal power partners were also more likely to use deception and they reported their partner was least likely to be deceptive compared to the other power groups. Low power partners were more likely, compared to equal or high power, to be motivated to submit to their partner, to use topic avoidance, and to experience psychological aggression from their partner. The type of relationship moderated several of these effects.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conflict; dominance.; dyadic power theory; equilibrium; interpersonal argument
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