Thomas Holtgraves

Thomas Holtgraves
Ball State University · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

98
Publications
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4,016
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August 1986 - present
Ball State University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (98)
Article
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The present research investigated the cognitive processes involved in responding to self-report items under varying conditions of social desirability. Participants in three experiments judged the extent to which a set of items (personality traits in Experiments 1 and 2; behaviors in Experiment 3) described them under instructions that either increa...
Article
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Four experiments were conducted to examine the effect of responding to self-report items framed with either a cognitive verb (think) or an affective verb (feel). Participants' open-ended self-descriptions were significantly more negative when they responded to a feel prompt than when they responded to a think prompt (Experiments 1 and 2). This effe...
Article
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Uncertainty terms (e.g., some, possible, good, etc.) are words that do not have a fixed referent and hence are relatively ambiguous. A model is proposed that specifies how, from the hearer's perspective, recognition of facework as a potential motive for the use of an uncertainty term results in a calibration of the intended meaning of that term. Fo...
Article
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People differ in terms of whether they express their meanings directly or indirectly and whether they look for indirect meanings in remarks of others. Although many researchers have noted these differences, empirical research on this topic has been rare. This article reports the development and validation of a measure that assesses the production o...
Article
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Social cognition is meant to examine the process of meaningful social interaction. Despite the central involvement of language in this process, language has not received the focal attention that it deserves. Conceptualizing meaningful social interaction as the process of construction and exchange of meaning, the authors argue that language can be p...
Article
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In this research I explored the communication of emotions in digital contexts. Specifically, how well are people able to implicitly communicate discrete emotional states with words alone, and what are some of the correlates of this ability? In two experiments, senders created text messages designed to communicate 22 specific emotions (e.g., disgust...
Article
Across three experiments we examined cross-cultural differences in the use of emoticons (Experiment 1) and emoji (Experiments 2 and 3) when sending text messages. In all experiments, participants wrote text messages to another person based on different hypothetical situations (varying in valence or face-threat). We assume that digital CMC cues can...
Article
Successful language use requires accurate intention recognition. However, sometimes this can be undermined because communication occurs within an interpersonal context. In this research, I used a relatively large set of speech acts (n = 32) and explored how variability in their inherent face-threat influences the extent to which they are successful...
Article
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In face-to-face communication there are multiple paralinguistic and gestural features that facilitate recognition of a speaker’s intended meaning, features that are lacking when people communicate digitally (e.g., texting). As a result, substitutes have emerged (expressive punctuation, capitalization, etc.) to facilitate communication in these situ...
Article
Two experiments were conducted to examine the production and detection of common, everyday deception. Experiment 1 was a naturalistic study in which participants provided their most recent truthful and deceptive (both sent and received) text messages. Participants in Experiment 2 were asked to generate text messages that were either deceptive or tr...
Article
Language comprehension involves the recognition of speech acts. The term speech act refers to what a speaker intends to accomplish when saying something. Holtgraves (2008) demonstrated that English speakers can automatically recognize speech acts, and proposes that this allows an efficient (good-enough) processing of conversation turns. Other studi...
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Indiana recently passed legislation requiring teacher preparation programs to educate future teachers on how to identify and refer struggling readers, including students with learning needs related to dyslexia. The purpose of this study was to examine whether a university course that covers content in response to legislation was effective in improv...
Article
While past research has demonstrated a link between the subjective “Aha” experience of insight and verbal insight problem solution activation in the right hemisphere (RH), no one has yet linked insight to long term semantic priming. We propose that through a shared process of semantic integration both of these concepts are linked and thus the exper...
Article
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Uncertainty terms (e.g., possible) are words that are not fixed and hence open to interpretation. This research examined the role of social desirability in how these words are interpreted in self-report questions. Participants in Experiments 1 (N = 96; MTurk workers) and 2 (N = 96; college students) judged trait (N = 48) and behavior (N = 36) items...
Chapter
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This chapter provides an overview of the methods, findings and theoretical implications of the major experimental approaches to (Im)politeness. Empirical research examining Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory, including the role of social variables in the production and perception of politeness, is critically reviewed. This is followed by a revi...
Chapter
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Although viewed primarily as a motor disorder, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is also associated with a variety of communication and cognitive deficits. In this chapter, we review research on pragmatic deficits in PD, as well as related cognitive processes that can contribute to those deficits. A variety of comprehension deficits have been demonstrated i...
Article
Ambiguity in language derives, in part, from the multiple motivations that underlie the choice to use any particular expression. The use of some lexical items, such as probability expressions and scalar terms, can be motivated by a desire to communicate uncertainty as well as a desire to be polite (i.e., manage face). Research has demonstrated that...
Article
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Thomas Holtgraves, Chelsea CadleDepartment of Psychological Science, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USAAbstract: Parkinson's disease (PD) is viewed primarily as a motor disorder. However, recent researches suggest that there is also a variety of communication deficits associated with this disorder. In this paper, we review some of these researc...
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Correlations between the relative speeds of left-to-right and right-to-left interhemispheric transfer times and resting quantitative electroencephalography activity were examined in order to determine if variability in interhemispheric transfer was related to individual variability in resting neural firing patterns. Resting electroencephalograph fr...
Article
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This research examined differences in the perception of emotion words as a function of individual differences in subclinical levels of depression and anxiety. Participants completed measures of depression and anxiety and performed a lexical decision task for words varying in affective valence (but equated for arousal) that were presented briefly to...
Article
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In polite contexts, people find it difficult to perceive whether they can derive scalar inferences from what others say (e.g., does “some people hated your idea” mean that not everyone hated it?). Because this uncertainty can lead to costly misunderstandings, it is important to identify the cues people can rely on to solve their interpretative prob...
Article
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Prior research on text messaging has focused on its elliptical nature (e.g., acronyms, etc.). In contrast, the purpose of this research was to conduct an investigation of the type of words that tend to occur in text messages. Participants (N = 224) retrieved their most recent text messages which were then analyzed with the Linguistic Inquiry and Wo...
Article
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Prior research has demonstrated that semantic organization in the right hemisphere (RH) is more diffuse and specialized for distant semantic associates than is semantic organization in the left hemisphere (LH). The present research explored individual differences in this regard. If the RH is more specialized for distant semantic associates, then in...
Article
We conducted an exploratory study to examine the resting electroencephalography (EEG) correlates of pseudoneglect, a phenomenon wherein neurologically intact individuals show greater attentional bias toward the left side compared with the right side of space. We took the resting EEG of 21 college students for 5 min and then had them complete a comp...
Article
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The Journal of Language and Social Psychology has been publishing articles for 30 years. In this article, three different kinds of analyses (viz., content codings, word clouds, and a textual procedure) examining trends over and between the three decades are reported. Drawing on these, future directions for the journal and the field in general are a...
Poster
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Pragmatic language deficits in Parkinson’s disease
Article
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In this research the role of the RH in the comprehension of speech acts (or illocutionary force) was examined. Two split-screen experiments were conducted in which participants made lexical decisions for lateralized targets after reading a brief conversation remark. On one-half of the trials the target word named the speech act performed with the p...
Article
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Research on the lateralisation of brain functions for emotion has yielded different results as a function of whether it is the experience, expression, or perceptual processing of emotion that is examined. Further, for the perception of emotion there appear to be differences between the processing of verbal and nonverbal stimuli. The present researc...
Article
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The purpose of this research was to undertake some analyses of how the language used in text messaging varies as a function of personality traits and the interpersonal context. After completing personality questionnaires, participants provided their most recent text messages and indicated their relationship with the message recipient on several dim...
Article
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Prior research suggests that people with Parkinson's disease (PD) display certain deficiencies in their use of language. In this research, the authors used a role-playing technique to examine their ability to say things politely and to vary their level of politeness as a function of the social context. PD participants, relative to control participa...
Article
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We examined potential neurocognitive mechanisms of indirect speech in support of face management in 28 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and 32 elderly controls with chronic disease. In experiment 1, we demonstrated automatic activation of indirect meanings of particularized implicatures in controls but not in PD patients. Failure to automatic...
Article
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Asymmetric motor severity is common in Parkinson's Disease (PD) and provides a method for examining the neurobiologic mechanisms underlying cognitive and linguistic deficits associated with the disorder. In the present research, PD participants (N=31) were assessed in terms of the asymmetry of their motor symptoms. Interviews with the participants...
Article
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Recognizing the specific speech act (Searle, 196935. Searle , J. 1969. Speech acts, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [CrossRef]View all references) that a speaker performs with an utterance is a fundamental feature of pragmatic competence. However, little is known about neurocognitive mediation of speech act comprehension. The present re...
Article
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This research examined similarities and differences between gambling activities, with a particular focus on differences in gambling frequency and rates of problem gambling. The data were from population-based surveys conducted in Canada between 2001 and 2005. Adult respondents completed various versions of the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI)...
Article
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A large, integrated survey data set provided by the Ontario Problem Gambling Centre was used to investigate psychometric properties of the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). This nine-item self-report instrument was designed to measure a single, problem gambling construct. Unlike its nearest competitor--the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS)--t...
Chapter
Language use is intentional behavior. Speakers formulate their utterances with the goal of having their intentions recognized and listeners process a speaker's remarks with the goal of recognizing those intentions. In this chapter I argue that the processes of speaking and listening are based on goals that operate at varying levels of abstraction....
Article
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Companies and organizations use integrity tests to screen job applicants, and the fakability of these tests remains a concern. The present study uses two separate designs to analyze the fakability of the Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB) and the personality constructs related to integrity test scores. The results demonstrate that the PRB can be succes...
Article
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A fundamental assumption of many theories of conversation is that comprehension of a speaker’s utterance involves recognition of the speaker’s intention in producing that remark. However, the nature of intention recognition is not clear. One approach is to conceptualize a speaker’s intention in terms of speech acts [Searle, J. (1969). Speech acts....
Article
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Speakers frequently have specific intentions that they want others to recognize (Grice, 1957). These specific intentions can be viewed as speech acts (Searle, 1969), and I argue that they play a role in long-term memory for conversation utterances. Five experiments were conducted to examine this idea. Participants in all experiments read scenarios...
Article
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Recognizing the specific speech act (Searle, 1969) that a speaker performs with an utterance is a fundamental feature of pragmatic competence. Past research has demonstrated that native speakers of English automatically recognize speech acts when they comprehend utterances (Holtgraves & Ashley, 2001). The present research examined whether this occu...
Article
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Three experiments were conducted to examine perceptions of a natural language computer interface (conversation bot). Participants in each study chatted with a conversation bot and then indicated their perceptions of the bot on various dimensions. Although participants were informed that they were interacting with a computer program, participants cl...
Article
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This article reports the development of a tool for examining the social and cognitive processes of people involved in a conversational interaction. Research on how people process utterances while they are actually engaged in an interaction has been extremely rare. To that end, we have developed a conversational bot (computer program designed to mim...
Article
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Three experiments were conducted to examine the operation of the representativeness and anchoring and adjustment heuristics in lottery play. Subjects in Experiments 1 and 2 indicated their chances of winning a lottery with an objective probability of 1 in 10. Consistent with the anchoring and adjustment heuristic, subjects (in both experiments) per...
Article
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Five experiments were conducted to examine the impact of question wording manipulations derived from face management theory (Brown & Levinson, 1987) on responses to survey questions. In general, it was expected that questions phrased so as to allow the respondent to maintain face while answering in a socially undesirable manner would result in lowe...
Article
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Two studies were conducted to explore the effects of a defendant's overinformative denials (i.e., denials not prompted by an accusation or specific request) in a courtroom trial. Subjects read the testimony of a defendant who either did or did not deny several negative propositions (Study I) or whose denials either were or were not in response to t...
Article
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The present research examined how people perform and perceive implicit performatives, i.e., speech acts that do not contain the performative verb. In Experiment 1 participants were asked how they would perform various speech acts (e.g., beg, brag, blame) when they could not use the performative verb. Consistent with speech act theory, utterances we...
Article
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Participants in six experiments were asked to assume that they were either the speaker or the recipient of a reply to a potentially face-threatening question. In all experiments, participants were more likely to interpret the replies as conveying an indirect negative meaning when they took the perspective of the recipient than when they took the pe...
Article
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Politeness can be viewed as a theoretical construct existing at the intersection of cultural, social, cognitive, and linguistic processes. Because of this, an understanding of politeness requires an understanding of its social-cognitive underpinnings, and conversely, an understanding of many social-cognitive phenomena can be improved by considering...
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Labeling theory posits that people labeled mentally ill experience negative societal reactions. Past research on this question is contradictory, due primarily to methodological problems. This study overcomes some of these problems by having respondents indicate their willingness to interact with a person with a specific mental disorder, or with an...
Article
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This research examined the unique effects of different markers of linguistic powerlessness (hedges, hesitations, and tag questions) on persuasion. Participants read (Experiment 1) or listened to (Experiment 2) a communication advocating comprehensive exams. Under high message relevance, messages containing powerless markers resulted in less favorab...
Article
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Previous research on individual differences in repression has used a typological method of classification; people are classified as repressors if they self-report low anxiety and high social desirability (Weinberger, Schwartz, & Davidson, 1979). This typology, however, does not differentiate between the two factors comprising social desirability (i...
Article
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Previous research on the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) has demonstrated that (a) dissociation is quantifiable in both clinical and nonclinical samples and (b) a three-factor structure (amnesia, depersonalization, and absorption) is tenable for clinical samples. The factor structurefor nonclinical samples is less clear, with one- and multiple...
Article
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According to speech act theory (Searle, 1969), utterances have both a propositional content and an illocutionary force (the speech act performed with the utterance). Four experiments were conducted to examine whether utterance comprehension involves speech act recognition. Participants in all experiments first read remarks that could be characteriz...
Article
In conversations, turns that are dispreferred (e.g., refusing an offer) are marked in various ways (e.g., with delays, prefaces, more complex syntax, etc.). The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of one such marker - a "well" preface - on the comprehension of nonliteral meanings. One possible psychological function of dispreferred m...
Article
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Six experiments examined the comprehension of indirect replies conveyed by violating H. P. Grice's (1975) relation maxim (be relevant). Ss were 361 college students. In contrast to the nonliteral meanings examined in prior research (e.g., metaphors), the replies examined in these experiments yielded particularized rather than generalized implicatur...
Article
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This study examined the role of linguistic power in persuasion. Participants listened to a persuasive message conveyed in either a powerless style (frequent hedges, hesitations, and tag questions) or a powerful style (the absence of these features). In addition, the ability of participants to process the message and speaker gender were manipulated....
Article
A model is proposed that explains how people arrive at specific interpretations of indirect replies. The model is based on Grice's (1975) conversational logic, coupled with Goffman's (1967) insights regarding face management. The model assumes that hearers, upon recognizing that a speaker has violated the relevance maxim, will generate an inference...
Article
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This article describes some of the linguistic mechanisms people use when engaging in disagreements with one another. Unacquainted students discussed an issue on which they had opposing views. These disagreements were then transcribed and examined for the occurrence of politeness strategies. There was evidence for many of the positively polite strat...
Article
Two studies were conducted to examine the meaning of scores on the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES; Bernstein & Putnam, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 174, 727–735, 1986) for non-clinical populations. Subjects in both studies completed the DES and several other measures of personality. In addition, subjects in study 1 also indicated how...
Article
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Three experiments were conducted to examine whether people spontaneously remember the wording used to convey politeness. In all experiments, subjects heard statements varying in politeness that had been made by either a high-status (e.g., a professor) or equal-status (e.g., another student) speaker. Subjects' incidental memory for these statements...
Article
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This study examined the types of experiences that repressors repress and one mechanism that they use for doing so. Subjects were first asked to indicate whether they could recall experiencing each of 48 different (positive and negative) emotions. The experiences recalled by repressors were significantly more positive than those recalled by nonrepre...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated an asymmetrical bias in attributions of causality for events described by interpersonal verbs. The authors used a cued recall procedure to examine possible explanations for this implicit causality effect. Subjects in four experiments were asked to form impressions of the people described in minimal sentences conta...
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Four experiments were conducted to examine how a speaker's status can affect the comprehension of conventional and nonconventional indirect requests. The processing of conventional forms was not affected by the speaker's relative status, and consistent with past research (R. W. Gibbs, 1983), these forms were recognized quickly and without the heare...
Article
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Goffman's concepts of face and face-work have been used by researchers in recent years to explain the interpersonal underpinnings of language use. Most notable in this regard is the research of Brown and Levinson, whose theory of politeness has stimulated considerable research on this topic. By operationalizing face-work in terms of specific lingui...
Article
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Several hypotheses derived from P. Brown and Levinson's (1987) politeness theory were tested with Ss from the United States and Korea. Ss imagined themselves in situations in which they were to make a request. They then indicated exactly what they would say in each situation and what their perceptions of the request size, the hearer's power, and th...
Article
We investigated differences between mildly depressed subjects and normal controls in their memory for, and judgments of, another person. All subjects read a story (containing either predominately positive or predominately negative items) under instructions to form an impression of the story target. Subjects later made several judgments about the ta...
Article
We conducted three experiments to examine the effects of the underlying premise of a message on subsequent issue agreement, perceptions of the message and source, subjects' cognitive responses, and attitudes toward related but nonmentioned issues. In all experiments, subjects who read a message based on an acceptable premise were subsequently more...
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Research shows that face management (Goffman 1967) is an important variable affecting how speakers phrase their remarks. The present research examines the possibility that face concerns also could affect the interpretation of remarks. Subjects read scenarios and target utterances, and then stated their judgments of the likelihood of various interpr...
Article
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P. Brown and S. Levinson's (1987) politeness theory attempts to explain how face-management processes (and the variables that affect it) motivate the manner in which speakers in any culture will phrase their remarks. Several hypotheses derived from this theory were tested with subjects from the United States and Korea. Subjects in Experiments 1 and...
Article
We conducted two experiments to examine the effects of an ordered recall strategy (i.e., recall everything about one target before attempting to recall information about a different target) on person memory. In the first experiment, subjects received information about two individuals with the goal of either forming separate impressions of each indi...
Article
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Evidence is presented suggesting that a speaker who makes positive self-descriptions will be perceived differently as a function of the conversation context of his or her remarks. Subjects read a transcript of a conversation between two persons; one of whom made positive self-statements about his (Replication 1) or her (Replication 2) intellectual...
Article
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We conducted three experiments to examine the effects of information about a speaker's status on memory for the assertiveness of his or her remarks. Subjects either read (Experiments 1 and 2) or listened to a conversation (Experiment 3) and were later tested for their memory of the target speaker's remarks with either a recognition (Experiment 1) o...
Article
Three studies were conducted to examine the form and function of remedial moves. In the first study, the remedial moves that subjects reported using and receiving were analysed for frequency of occurrence. A surprisingly large percentage (55%) of these moves involved a combination of concessions and accounts. Subjects in the second study sorted int...
Article
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One of the attractions of gambling is the opportunity to present to oneself and to others a desired identity. Thus, a consideration of gambling as a type of self-presentation can contribute to our understanding of how and why people gamble. In this paper a self-presentational view of gambling is outlined in terms of both general identities and spec...
Article
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Speech acts (Searle, 1975) can be performed either directly or in various indirect ways. It is argued that the appropriateness of this choice is affected by the process of face management and the relative status of the speaker, and the choice of how to perform speech acts will encode social information. A written scenario format was used, and in Ex...