Disrupting the flow: How brief silences in group conversations affect social needs

Namkje Koudenburg*, Tom Postmes, Ernestine H. Gordijn

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    37 Citaten (Scopus)
    22 Downloads (Pure)


    We all know the awkward feeling when a conversation is disrupted by a brief silence. This paper studies why such moments can be unsettling. We suggest that silences are particularly disturbing if they disrupt the conversational flow. In two experiments we examined the effects of a single brief instance of silence on social needs, perceived consensus, emotions, and rejection. Study 1 demonstrated that fluent conversations are associated with feelings of belonging, self-esteem, and social validation. If a brief silence disrupts this fluency, negative emotions and feelings of rejection arise. Study 2 replicated these effects in a more realistic setting, and showed that the effects of a brief silence are considerable despite participants' unawareness of the silence. Together, results show that conversational flow induces a sense of belonging and positive self-esteem. Moreover, this research suggests an implicit route to social validation, in which consensus is inferred from fluent group conversation. (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)512-515
    Aantal pagina's4
    TijdschriftJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
    Nummer van het tijdschrift2
    StatusPublished - mrt-2011

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