Aimed: The following research was aimed at establishing whether situations differentiate the use of utterance styles between affiliative, aggressive, self-defeating and self-enhancing. Additionally, an attempt was made to determine if context may induce a need to change a given utterance style.
Methods: Four stories were used for the purpose of this research. Story 1 was meant as a speaker-threatening situation, whereby the participants were expected to relate to the sender. Moreover, the sender was facing a dominant addressee. Story 2 was meant as an addressee-threatening situation (ATS), whereby the sender appeared in a dominant position. Two more stories were used to illustrate situations where respectively speaker assertiveness (SAN) and addressee assertiveness (AAN) were required.
Participants: There were 119 participants, average age being 21, with 54 male and 66 female participants.
Results: Data was analysed by means of Student's t-test, which was to outline differences in usage regarding a given utterance style in two varied contexts. The analysis has shown that what is mostly preferred are styles which ensure positive relations with other participants as well as enhance the self, however, not at the expense of others. Thus, aggressive styles are disliked. The use of a given style seems correlated with an obligation to utilise a different style, which might be context-dependant. In self-threatening situations participants tend to opt for more control, which demonstrates their hope for a more symmetrical speaker-addressee relationship. Here also, the tendency to refrain from domineering behaviour for the sake of a better relation may be observed. The following research raises an important issue of correlation between human behaviour and situational context. The literature on the subject rarely investigates the problem of composing utterances, which would provide insight into the patterns of usage of a given style within a given context. Furthermore, the following research tries to verify whether the need to use a given style pattern is situation-dependant.
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