Cultural variations in authority management in interaction


Status difference, such as in seniority, wealth or social roles, plays an important role in human joint decision making situations. The degree of effectiveness of authority brought about by status difference naturally varies across different cultural groups. But, the way in which authority manifests itself in joint decision making situations also changes in different cultural groups. We have been studying cultural variations in dialogue interaction styles through the examination of Mister O corpus, a task-oriented dialogue corpus which has been collected over several languages, including Japanese, English and Arabic. We identified a contrastive manifestations of authority in Mister O dialogues, which can be characterized in terms of different emphasis on competence and deference. We discuss possible evolutionary underpinnings of the diversity of interaction style manifestations, based on the notion of multi-level selection and tribal social instinct hypothesis.

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