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Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: Type of argument as a situational constraint
Unformatted Document Text:  Argumentativeness 5 A line of research by the author illustrates that these two types of arguments differ in terms of effect on satisfaction and resolution (Villagran, Author, Villagran, & Wittenberg, 2001); the functions the arguments serve in relationships (Author, 2002a); and the beliefs that individuals hold concerning each type of argument (Author, 2002b). This study seeks to extend this line of research by focusing on the relationship between type of argument and the concepts of argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness. A brief review of the copious literature covering these concepts follows. Argumentativeness, Verbal Aggressiveness, and Type of Argument Infante and Rancer (1996) define argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness as “predispositions toward communication” (p. 328) and claim that “a major premise of this predispositional perspective argues that an individual’s behavior exhibits a great degree of cross- situational consistency” (p. 328). However, current research on argumentative and verbal aggressive behavior takes an interactionist perspective (Infante & Rancer, 1993). Infante, Rancer, and Womack (1997) claim that argumentative behavior is predicted best by examining both trait and situational factors. These situational factors can affect motivation to argue for both high and low argumentatives (Infante & Rancer, 1993). Situational variables that have been found to affect levels of argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior include the stubbornness of the person with whom one is arguing (Infante, Trebing, Shepherd, & Seeds, 1984), the ego-involvement of the topic (Onyekwere, Rubin, & Infante, 1991), and whether the opponent is similar in terms of argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness (Levine & Boster, 1996; Rancer & Infante, 1985; Semic & Canary, 1997). Also, one’s belief concerning the likelihood of successful arguing can also predict why a high argumentative may not argue in a

Authors: Johnson, Amy.
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Argumentativeness 5
A line of research by the author illustrates that these two types of arguments differ in
terms of effect on satisfaction and resolution (Villagran, Author, Villagran, & Wittenberg, 2001);
the functions the arguments serve in relationships (Author, 2002a); and the beliefs that
individuals hold concerning each type of argument (Author, 2002b). This study seeks to extend
this line of research by focusing on the relationship between type of argument and the concepts
of argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness. A brief review of the copious literature
covering these concepts follows.
Argumentativeness, Verbal Aggressiveness, and Type of Argument
Infante and Rancer (1996) define argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness as
“predispositions toward communication” (p. 328) and claim that “a major premise of this
predispositional perspective argues that an individual’s behavior exhibits a great degree of cross-
situational consistency” (p. 328). However, current research on argumentative and verbal
aggressive behavior takes an interactionist perspective (Infante & Rancer, 1993). Infante,
Rancer, and Womack (1997) claim that argumentative behavior is predicted best by examining
both trait and situational factors. These situational factors can affect motivation to argue for both
high and low argumentatives (Infante & Rancer, 1993). Situational variables that have been
found to affect levels of argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior include the
stubbornness of the person with whom one is arguing (Infante, Trebing, Shepherd, & Seeds,
1984), the ego-involvement of the topic (Onyekwere, Rubin, & Infante, 1991), and whether the
opponent is similar in terms of argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness (Levine & Boster,
1996; Rancer & Infante, 1985; Semic & Canary, 1997). Also, one’s belief concerning the
likelihood of successful arguing can also predict why a high argumentative may not argue in a


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