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We review literature linking patterns of vocal accommodation in the paraverbal range of the voice to small group structures of status and dominance. We provide a thorough…
We review literature linking patterns of vocal accommodation in the paraverbal range of the voice to small group structures of status and dominance. We provide a thorough overview of the current state of vocal accommodation research, tracing the development of the model from its early focus on patterns of mutual vocal adaptation, to the current focus on structural factors producing patterns of unequal accommodation between group members. We also highlight gaps in existing knowledge and opportunities to contribute to the development of vocal accommodation as an unobtrusive, nonconscious measure of small group hierarchies.
We trace the empirical development of vocal accommodation as a measure of status and power, and discuss connections between vocal accommodation and two prominent theoretical frameworks: communication accommodation theory (CAT) and expectation states theory. We also provide readers with a guide for collecting and analyzing vocal data and for calculating two related measures of vocal accommodation.
Across multiple studies, vocal accommodation significantly predicts observers’ perceptions regarding interactants engaged in debates and interviews. Studies have specifically linked vocal accommodation to perceptions of relative power or dominance, but have not shown a relationship between accommodation and perceptions of prestige.
Vocal accommodation measures have clear applications for measuring and modeling group dynamics. More work is needed to understand how accommodation functions in clearly-defined status situations, how the magnitude of status differences affects the degree of accommodation inequality, and how vocal accommodation is related to other correlates of social status, including openness to influence and contributions to group tasks.
We survey and organize over fifty years of theoretical research on status and expectation state processes. After defining some key terms in this theoretical approach, we…
We survey and organize over fifty years of theoretical research on status and expectation state processes. After defining some key terms in this theoretical approach, we briefly describe theories and branches in the program.
We also focus on a few theories that illustrate distinct patterns of theory growth, using them to show the variety of ways in which the research program has grown.
The program structure developed from a single set of theories on development and maintenance of group inequality in the 1960s to six interrelated branches by 1988. Between 1988 and today, the overall structure has grown to total 19 different branches. We briefly describe each branch, identifying over 200 resources for the further study of these branches.
Although the various branches share key concepts and processes, they have been developed by different researchers, in a variety of settings from laboratories to schools to business organizations. Second, we outline some important issues for further research in some of the branches. Third, we emphasize the value of developing new research methods for testing and applying the theories.
These theories have been used to explain phenomena of gender, racial, and ethnic inequality among others, and for understanding some cases of personality attributions, deviance and control processes, and application of double standards in hiring.
Status and expectation state processes often operate to produce invidious social inequalities. Understanding these processes can enable social scientists to devise more effective interventions to reduce these inequalities.
Originality/Value of the Chapter
Status and expectation state processes occupy a significant segment of research into group processes. This chapter provides an authoritative overview of ideas in the program, what is known, and what remains to be discovered.
Purpose – In recent decades, some sociologists have turned to evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science to support, modify, and reconfigure existing social…
Purpose – In recent decades, some sociologists have turned to evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science to support, modify, and reconfigure existing social psychological theory. In this chapter, we build on this momentum by considering the relevance of current work in affective and cognitive neuroscience for understanding emotions and the self. Our principal aim is to enlarge the range of phenomena currently considered by sociologists who study emotion while showing how affective dynamics play an important role across most outcomes and processes of interest to social scientists.
Approach – We focus on the ways external social objects become essential to, and emotionally significant for, the self. To that end, we draw on ideas from phenomenology, pragmatism, classic symbolic interactionism, and dramaturgy. We show how basic affective systems graft on, build from, and extend current social psychological usages of emotions as well as the important sociological work being done on self, from both symbolic interactionist (SI) and identity theory (IT) perspectives. Finally, we turn to the promising directions in studying emotional biographies and various aspects related to embodiment.
Findings – Affective systems consist of brain networks whose connections deepen when activated, with interesting variations observable at the neural, individual, and social levels in which one or more system is more salient than others. Affective systems may come to saturate the construction and maintenance of an autobiography or collective biography, with consequences for self-projection, self-other attunement, and embodied action. In turning to embodiment, however, we consider aspects of cognitive neuroscience that can contribute to ongoing work in neurosociology building on symbolic interactionism.
Practical Implications – The focus on affective systems suggests new research agendas in leveraging emerging neurosociological methods in the laboratory, while pushing for novel, naturalistic observational strategies. The latter, in particular, may be key to deepening sociology's contributions to neuroscience, better positioned to bring the full disciplinary toolkit to bear on these questions.
Social Implications – In considering the embodied and projective aspects of the self, we show how work examining convergence and divergence between embodied and linguistic pathways opens up new insights into how the self develops or acquires behavioral repertoires. As such, this chapter points to the need for holistic approach to understanding the social actor and, thereby, how political, economic, historical, and cultural factors shape self as much as biogenetic and psychological.
Originality of the Chapter – Sociologists think of emotions as either dependent or intervening variables: (1) signaling identity or situational incongruence, (2) states to be managed, and (3) structural dimensions of superordinate–subordinate relationships. Our integration of the theory of affective systems emphasizes the causal primacy emotions have over other behavioral and cognitive functions, clarifying how they play into the construction and maintenance of self and social experience.
Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate how biosociologists can further the understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders by combining neurology's knowledge…
Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate how biosociologists can further the understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders by combining neurology's knowledge of the brain with social scientific knowledge about paraverbal communication and interactional synchrony.
Findings – We theoretically analyze Autism Spectrum Disorders through the lens of neurosociology and develop a research agenda centered on relationships among brain function, interactional symmetry, and autism. We also derive an intervention model involving the artificial manipulation of speech communication. In our analysis we draw attention to multidisciplinary research on vocal and behavioral synchrony and demonstrate how this knowledge contributes to a neurosociological understanding of autism.
Research limitations/implications – We synthesize diverse programs of research from multiple fields and innovate a neurosociological approach to understanding biosocial interaction rituals in relation to autism. We discuss the potential use of “dichotic filtration” of speech to enhance communication efficacy for individuals with autism.
Practical implications – Our arguments suggest that the social difficulties faced by individuals with autism may be rooted in problems associated with the cerebral processing of paralanguage. As a potential remedy for these problems, we suggest an intervention method based on recent technological advancements stemming from decades of theoretical and empirical research.
Social implications – To the extent that the proposed intervention model proves successful, it will enhance the lives of individuals with autism and those with whom they interact by improving social communication and associated channels for creating social bonds.
Originality/value – This work is uniquely important as an example of how biosociologists might move “from bench to application” in the context of a cumulative program of interdisciplinary research, development, and technology transfer.
Purpose – This chapter explores the effects of persistent identity nonverification on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses used to “reclaim” an identity…
Purpose – This chapter explores the effects of persistent identity nonverification on the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses used to “reclaim” an identity within the perceptual control model of identity theory.
Methodology/Approach – We conducted a within-subjects experiment invoking the “student” identity to examine the relationship between the persistence of nonverification and emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions.
Findings – Contrary to identity theory, we find the effect of persistent nonverification on negative emotion and behavior change is curvilinear (rather than linear). Low persistence produced the least negative emotion, but medium and high persistence produced comparably higher levels of negative emotion. For behavior change, the relationship is curvilinear and opposite what identity theory would expect: low persistence produced the greatest (rather than least) behavior change. For cognitive reactions, we find support for identity theory: persistent nonverification has a negative (linear) effect on the perceived accuracy of feedback. We conclude that while individuals accurately perceive the degree to which identity-relevant feedback is discrepant, “too much” nonverification produces excessive negative emotion and dismissal of social feedback with little behavioral modification.
Practical Implications – Program interventions based on identity theory may focus on maximizing identity verification as a means of shaping positive identities and behaviors. Our research suggests that there may be a “goldilocks zone” where small amounts of nonverification lead to more positive outcomes.
Originality/Value of the Chapter – This chapter examines persistence of identity nonverification in connection with more or less immediate cognitive and behavioral (not just affective) responses, which has not yet been done in identity theory research.
This volume begins with two chapters that draw on evolutionary sociology to advance our understanding of interpersonal processes and their role in social organization. In “The Biology and Neurology of Group Processes,” Jonathan H. Turner and Alexandra Maryanski draw on three areas of evolutionary sociology (cladistic analysis, comparative neuroanatomy, and ecological analysis) to show how understanding the selection pressures acting on the brain over millions of years can help us get a better grasp on the biologically based capacities and propensities that are involved in group processes such as role-taking and role-making. An improved understanding of these processes means better explanations of how humans create, sustain, and change social structures and culture – topics that lie at the core of sociological inquiry. At the same time, Turner and Maryanski's chapter will give sociologists much to think about and debate, as one of the main conclusions of their argument is that neurology explains human capacities to develop non-kin groups more than culture. The next chapter entitled “Sacrifice, Gratitude, and Obligation: Serial Reciprocity in Early Christianity,” by Richard Machalek and Michael W. Martin, may be seen as giving more equal explanatory weight to culture and biology in a theoretical analysis that combines a focus on cognitive processes (historically unique meanings and ideas) with evolutionary sociological insights about emotions in order to generate better explanations of complex socio-historical developments. Specifically, Machalek and Martin extend Rodney Stark's analysis of how ideas contributed to the rise of Christianity by showing how the evolved features of human emotionality related to “paying it forward” (or serial reciprocity in more formal terms) may have also played an important role in this historical process. Both chapters provide excellent examples of the value of combining multiple theoretical perspectives and paying attention to the interplay of social and biological forces.
This chapter focuses on two theories in the landscape of research on social influence – status characteristics theory and social influence network theory – between which…
This chapter focuses on two theories in the landscape of research on social influence – status characteristics theory and social influence network theory – between which heretofore there has been little communication. We advance these two approaches by dovetailing them in a “modular integration” that retains the assumptions of each theory and extends their scope of application. Here, we concentrate on the extension of status characteristics theory to multiactor task-oriented groups and develop new insights on the effects of status characteristics in such groups. We address the implications for opinion changes of status differentiations in which some individuals are deemed more socially worthy and capable than others.