Relationships between descriptive content and interaction behavior in interviews

Jeanne S. Phillips, Ruth G. Martarazzo, Joseph D. Matarazzo, George Saslow, Frederick H. Kanfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken in order to explore possible relationships between two different general approaches to the description and measurement of verbal interview behavior. One widely applied frame of reference directs attention to the communication aspects of verbal behavior, that is, to some symbolic dimension of the content of the words spoken, using content analysis to define and quantify its variables. A second frame of reference focuses upon quantitative temporal characteristics of interview interactions, utilizing measures such as number and duration of utterances, and duration of silences. The study involves the direct investigation of relationships between precisely measured content variables and the temporal measures of the Interaction Chronograph. This instrument and Chapple's underlying interaction theory constitute an extensive, systematically developed attempt to describe temporal phenomena in verbal behavior and to investigate their significance. Ss were 30 new referrals (aged 20-61 yrs) to a psychiatric outpatient clinic. The results seem both encouraging in an exploratory study relating two quite disparate phenomena of interview behavior, and suggestive in the new meaningfulness which they add to the Interaction Chronograph variables by indicating relationships which seem inherently plausible and internally consistent. They provide a foundation for an approach to personality which combines content and temporal variables, and suggest personality dimensions which, underlying as they do at least two quite different spheres of behavior, may be particularly pervasive and consistent. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Consulting Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1961
Externally publishedYes


  • descriptive content
  • interaction behavior
  • interviews
  • psychiatric outpatients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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