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Tactics of Manipulation

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Manipulation is one means by which environments are altered to correspond to characteristics of individuals. We conducted two studies to identify the manipulation tactics that people use to elicit and terminate the actions of others. Factor analyses of four instruments revealed six types of tactics: charm, silent treatment, coercion, reason, regression, and debasement. Tactics of manipulation showed strong individual difference consistency across contexts. The charm tactic, however, was used more frequently for behavioral elicitation, whereas the coercion and silent treatment tactics were used more frequently for behavioral termination. Manipulation tactics covaried significantly across self-based and observer-based data sources with personality scales of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Ambitious-Lazy, Arrogant-Unassuming, Quarrelsome-Agreeable, and Calculating and with characteristics of subjects' social environments. We draw implications for an interactionist framework of person-environment correspondence, for an expansion of the taxonomic task that faces personality psychology, and for identifying links between personality and other scientific disciplines.
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