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Decoding of inconsistent communications.

by A Mehrabian, M Wiener
Journal of personality and social psychology ()

Abstract

The present study dealt with inconsistent communication of attitude in 2 com- ponents of a message. 3 degrees of attitude (positive, neutral, and negative) communicated in single-word contents were each combined with 3 degrees of attitude communicated in tone of voice. It was found, consistent with the proposed hypothesis, that the variability of inferences about communi- cator attitude on the basis of information available in content and tone combined is mainly contributed by variations in tone alone. For example, when the attitude communicated in content contradicted the attitude com- municated by a negative tone, the total message was judged as communicating a negative attitude. The limitations of the findings, as well as their implications for the double-blind theory of schizophrenia, were discussed. The

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