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Retrospective complementarity and the interpersonal situation

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Description: Interpersonal Complementarity refers to the way in which behavior is likely to occur between two people in an interaction. Carson (1969) defined complementarity as behaviors that are opposite on the dominance dimension and equal on the warmth dimension. Although many studies have observed complementarity during actual interpersonal interactions, no studies have examined if people hope or wish for complementarity during their interpersonal interactions. This study sought to examine if people wish their behavior had occurred in this manner following unpleasant interpersonal interactions. It was hypothesized that the way people say they wish they had behaved in prior unpleasant interactions will show higher complementarity than the way they actually behaved. Undergraduate participants (N = 169) completed the Interpersonal Adjectives Scales-Revised (Wiggins, 1995) for a pleasant interaction, unpleasant interaction, and the way they wished they had behaved in said unpleasant interaction. Contrary to expectations, the results did not support the hypothesis that people wish past interactions had occurred in a complementary fashion. Results are discussed in terms of future directions for research and current conceptualizations of complementarity.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work