The role of emotion word use in perceived responsiveness during getting acquainted interactions
Embargo Lift Date: 2021-08-07
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Past research has showed that perceived responsiveness (i.e., the extent to which people think that their relationship partners understand, care for, and appreciate them) is positively associated with individual and relational well-being. However, predictors of responsiveness were not extensively investigated. Researchers predominantly investigated stable individual differences as predictors of responsiveness and ignored dynamic factors such as language use and time. In addition, perceived responsiveness was mostly studied in the context of close relationships even though responsiveness is an important construct for less intimate relationships. To fill these gaps, the current study examined the role of emotion word use in perceived responsiveness during getting acquainted interactions. Female participants (N = 200) were instructed to engage in three 15-minute interactions in pairs, in which they took turns in reading aloud and answering given sets of questions. These interactions were video-recorded and transcribed into text files to capture participants’ emotion word use via a computerized text analysis program. After each interaction, participants reported their interaction partner’s responsiveness. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that participants who used a greater number of positive emotion words during interactions also perceived their interaction partner as more responsive. In addition, as time went by, participants perceived their partner as more responsive. However, negative emotion word usage did not significantly predict perceived responsiveness of the interaction partner. These findings contribute to the responsiveness literature by revealing that dynamic interpersonal factors such as emotion word use during a live interaction and time play a role in perceived responsiveness of newly acquainted individuals.