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Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: Type of argument as a situational constraint
Unformatted Document Text:  Argumentativeness 6 particular situation (Infante & Rancer, 1982). However, topic of the argument is one of the most powerful situational constraints on argumentative behavior (Infante & Rancer, 1993). Infante and Rancer (1993) found that level of argumentativeness distinguished how often people argued about certain topics. High argumentatives were found to argument about the following topics more: social, political, personal behavior, others’ behavior, and moral-ethical issues. Level of argumentativeness did not distinguish how often individuals reported arguing about topics such as sports, entertainment, and religious issues. In each case, Infante and Rancer asked them to self-report based on overarching argument categories rather than focusing on specific arguments. In addition, Infante and Rancer do not start with an explanatory mechanism of why they may obtain different results based on argument topic. They advance level of preparation needed for the argument as a potential explanation in that high argumentatives may be more willing to prepare themselves with knowledge useful in certain arguments. This study will extend research related to argument topic as a situational constraint by examining recall of actual arguments and providing the explanatory mechanism of type of argument to explain potential differences in argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior. Are reported levels of argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior different when individuals are considering a public or personal issue argument? In this study, individuals were asked to consider an instance when they argued about either a public or personal issue. Participants then completed the argumentativeness and verbal aggression scales in relation to that particular argument (Downs, Kaid, and Ragan, 1990, similarly adapted the scales to relate to one particular argument, in this case one the participants viewed between Dan Rather and George H. W. Bush; Infante and Rancer, 1982, altered the scales to have friends report on their friend’s

Authors: Johnson, Amy.
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Argumentativeness 6
particular situation (Infante & Rancer, 1982). However, topic of the argument is one of the most
powerful situational constraints on argumentative behavior (Infante & Rancer, 1993).
Infante and Rancer (1993) found that level of argumentativeness distinguished how often
people argued about certain topics. High argumentatives were found to argument about the
following topics more: social, political, personal behavior, others’ behavior, and moral-ethical
issues. Level of argumentativeness did not distinguish how often individuals reported arguing
about topics such as sports, entertainment, and religious issues. In each case, Infante and Rancer
asked them to self-report based on overarching argument categories rather than focusing on
specific arguments. In addition, Infante and Rancer do not start with an explanatory mechanism
of why they may obtain different results based on argument topic. They advance level of
preparation needed for the argument as a potential explanation in that high argumentatives may
be more willing to prepare themselves with knowledge useful in certain arguments. This study
will extend research related to argument topic as a situational constraint by examining recall of
actual arguments and providing the explanatory mechanism of type of argument to explain
potential differences in argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior.
Are reported levels of argumentative and verbally aggressive behavior different when
individuals are considering a public or personal issue argument? In this study, individuals were
asked to consider an instance when they argued about either a public or personal issue.
Participants then completed the argumentativeness and verbal aggression scales in relation to that
particular argument (Downs, Kaid, and Ragan, 1990, similarly adapted the scales to relate to one
particular argument, in this case one the participants viewed between Dan Rather and George H.
W. Bush; Infante and Rancer, 1982, altered the scales to have friends report on their friend’s


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