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Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: Type of argument as a situational constraint
Unformatted Document Text:  Argumentativeness 12 as opposed to the public issue argument condition, as illustrated by a two-group dependent sample t-test, t(85)= -2.45; p<.05; M P =46.37; SD P =12.39; M R =49.16; SD R =13.61; 2 =.07. This supports the supposition that women would be more affected by the situational variable of type of argument than males, who did not significantly differ in their levels of reported verbally aggressive behavior across types of arguments, according to a two-group dependent sample t- test, t(66)=0.62; p>.05; M P =53.67; SD P =13.59; M R =52.64; SD R =12.27; 2 =.006. Discussion Recent research on argumentativeness and its relation with argument behavior has taken an interactionist perspective (Infante & Rancer, 1993), in which the amount of argumentative behavior that is found in a particular situation can be predicted by both trait and situational factors. Situational factors, such as obstinacy of the opponent (Infante et al., 1984), have also been found to affect reported likelihood of utilizing verbally aggressive behavior. This study examines type of argument as a situational constraint on argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior in a particular argument. Individuals were found to report less argumentative behavior in the personal issue argument condition. This was true for both men and women. However, in both cases men reported higher argumentative scores than women. The finding of less reported argumentative behavior in the personal issue argument condition supports the hypotheses of this study but is opposite what some argumentation researchers have predicted. For example, Semic and Canary (1997) claim that a higher salient topic is likely to lead to more argumentative behavior. They give the example of the topic of apartment cleaning (a personal issue argument) should lead to higher argumentative behavior than politics (a public issue argument). Levine and Boster (1996) claim that involvement level in the topic of argument should increase the number of arguments.

Authors: Johnson, Amy.
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Argumentativeness 12
as opposed to the public issue argument condition, as illustrated by a two-group dependent
sample t-test, t(85)= -2.45; p<.05; M
P
=46.37; SD
P
=12.39; M
R
=49.16; SD
R
=13.61;
2
=.07. This
supports the supposition that women would be more affected by the situational variable of type
of argument than males, who did not significantly differ in their levels of reported verbally
aggressive behavior across types of arguments, according to a two-group dependent sample t-
test, t(66)=0.62; p>.05; M
P
=53.67; SD
P
=13.59; M
R
=52.64; SD
R
=12.27;
2
=.006.
Discussion
Recent research on argumentativeness and its relation with argument behavior has taken
an interactionist perspective (Infante & Rancer, 1993), in which the amount of argumentative
behavior that is found in a particular situation can be predicted by both trait and situational
factors. Situational factors, such as obstinacy of the opponent (Infante et al., 1984), have also
been found to affect reported likelihood of utilizing verbally aggressive behavior. This study
examines type of argument as a situational constraint on argumentative and verbally aggressive
behavior in a particular argument.
Individuals were found to report less argumentative behavior in the personal issue
argument condition. This was true for both men and women. However, in both cases men
reported higher argumentative scores than women. The finding of less reported argumentative
behavior in the personal issue argument condition supports the hypotheses of this study but is
opposite what some argumentation researchers have predicted. For example, Semic and Canary
(1997) claim that a higher salient topic is likely to lead to more argumentative behavior. They
give the example of the topic of apartment cleaning (a personal issue argument) should lead to
higher argumentative behavior than politics (a public issue argument). Levine and Boster (1996)
claim that involvement level in the topic of argument should increase the number of arguments.


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