Why do people interrupt? It depends on the situation you are in.

Mariane Bangui, Oi Kei Cheung, Oscar Franco, Yunjae Lee

We have all been interrupted by others while saying something. Being interrupted is a universal experience, but have you ever hypothesized what contexts affect how we interrupt? Here we present a project investigating how dynamics in negotiations can be reflected through the use of interruptions (N=100) under familial and political contexts.

We hypothesized that (1) family members use interruptions to build rapport and politicians use interruption to exert power, as well as (2) belonging to a culture, whether to individualistic or collectivistic culture, contributes to which type of interruption one prefers to use in a negotiation. To see whether our hypotheses could be justified, we found the frequency of each type of interruption and applied a conversational analysis that examined the influence of culture and context on the use of interruptions in a conversation.

After all data was collected and analyzed, we found that our data did not fully support our initial hypothesis. Even though people in the familial context use rapport interruption to maintain a harmony within negotiations, the results showed that members also use power interruptions just as frequent as in a political context to exert authority. On the other hand, we discovered that the fact of being raised in a collectivistic culture does not affect a person using more rapport or neutral interruptions than power interruptions. Other factors, such as carrying out self-perceived role in a negotiation, contributed much more to the occurrence of our findings.

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