The assessment of strong and weak influence tactics in couples' conflict conversations through computer based language programs.




Fogle, Kristin Wolfe.

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The goal of this study was to investigate the reliability and validity of a new method of assessment of communication strategies for influencing the other person during couples’ conflict conversations using the language-based computer programs LIWC, a word counting program, and LSA, a latent semantic analysis program. Two dimensions of influence tactics were expected: strong influence tactics, such as demanding or telling, and weak influence tactics, such as hinting or flattering. Videos of 82 couples’ conflict conversations from previous studies by Dr. Keith Sanford were re-coded and assessed for strong and weak influence tactics using LIWC, LSA, and observational coding. Influence tactics measured through the computer programs were found to weakly relate to influence tactics measured through observational coding. Reliability of influence tactic use was found to be weak for computer-based influence tactics. Some significant associations were discovered between influence tactics and marital satisfaction and communication behaviors. Compositional effects were found for several of the relationships. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.



Power in relationships., Computer based language assessment., Couples' conflict conversations., Linguistic inquiry and word count., Latent semantic analysis., Influence tactics.