All Things Come in Two: A Sequential Analytical Perspective of the Dynamic Role of Personality
Personality psychologists have been inundated with a simple question. What forms, and at what level, do personality traits affect behaviors in social situations? Empirical evidence provided supports to the notion that personality dictates the way in which people engage in social interactions. The present research attempts to address the following question: Is the nature of the manifestation associated with personality involved in the emission of a single form of behavior or sequences of behavior? The present study uses speech act taxonomy that was developed by Stiles (1978; 1992). Statistical tools, such as Markov chains (Anderson & Goodman, 1957), will be deployed as a way to “process analyze” the verbal behavior of different personality traits. In a dyadic design, fifty-eight participants were given a controversial topic in which one took an opposing position to that of their opponent. The interactions were video recorded, transcribed, and then coded by independent observers. The Five-Factor-Model (Costa & McCrae, 1992) were used as a measure of personality. The results indicated it is worthwhile to analyze discourse at the individual level. This is in contrast to the discursive approach, where utterances are analyzed at the “thematic” (or integrative) level. The results indicated interpersonal behaviors were found to be sequential in nature. In particular, the sequential patterns conformed statistically to one representing the 1st order Markov chains.
Keywords: Personality, Linguistics, Markov Chain, Sequential Analysis, Big Five, Speech Act
Dr. Kevin H C Cheng
Assistant Professor, Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University