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A direct and comprehensive test of two postulates of politeness theory applied to uncertainty communication

Sirota, M and Juanchich, M (2015) 'A direct and comprehensive test of two postulates of politeness theory applied to uncertainty communication.' Judgment and Decision Making, 10 (3). 232 - 240. ISSN 1930-2975

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Abstract

Applied to uncertainty communication, politeness theory postulates that when announcing bad news (1) speakers may intend not only to inform, but also to manage (e.g., save) the hearers? or speakers? own faces (i.e., face-managing intentions), and (2) speakers may perform face-managing intentions by altering the explicitly communicated probability. Previous research has assumed these two core postulates when explaining various reasoning and judgment phenomena in hearers, but has failed to test them empirically in a comprehensive and direct way: jointly in relation to speakers. To provide this critical evidence, we asked subjects to communicate a predefined numerical probability of two negative outcomes, using a verbal probability scale. Subjects reported their communication intentions afterwards. In line with the first politeness theory postulate, speakers intended not only to be informative but also to tactfully announce bad news or to avoid being blamed in case they made inaccurate (too low or too high) prediction. In line with the second politeness theory postulate, speakers altered their explicitly communicated probability more often and more substantially when adopting f ace-managing intentions than when adopting informative intentions. We discuss how this evidence corroborates the politeness theory and validates the previous research that focused on hearers.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 14:22
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2017 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17327

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