Equalloudness Contour Effect See Appendix A

EQUILIBRIUM HYPOTHESIS. = affilia-tive conflict theory = hypothesis of compensa tion. The English social psychologists Michael Argyle (1925- ) and Janet Dean suggest that participants in a social interaction situation who feel that the level/degree of intimacy transmitted by particular channels of nonverbal communication is inappropriate to the level of intimacy of the relationship in question, will tend to compensate by reducing the intimacy transmitted through other channels (e.g., in a crowded elevator where people are forced to stand closer together than is ordinarily appropriate with strangers, individuals tend to reduce the level of intimacy by making less eye contact with each other; thus, in such cases, increased proximity is related to decreased nonverbal eye contact). In experimental studies, Argyle and Dean found that the intimacy-proximity/nonverbal behavior effect was greatest for opposite-sex pairs of participants and, also, that individuals tend to stand closer to another person when the latter's eyes are shut. The equilibrium hypothesis, in this social context (cf., the concept/the-ory of personal space - the hypothetical area around an individual's body into which other individuals or conspecifics may not normally intrude without eliciting feelings of uneasiness or provoking a negative reaction), indicates that people move towards an "equilibrium distance" and adopt a particular level of nonverbal behavior, such as degree/level of eye contact, when placed in close physical proximity to other unfamiliar persons or strangers [cf., Coutts & Schneider (1976), and Patterson (1973, 1975) for cautions, clarifications, and qualifications of the phenomenon]. See also EXCHANGE/SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY.

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