Assessing Social Interactions Through the Interpersonal Circumplex Affiliation Axes


  • Arina Polyanskaya University of Vienna



Interpersonal Circumplex is a model of social interactions containing two axes, an autonomy axis describing behaviors ranging from dominant to submissive, and a communal axis ranging from friendly to hostile behaviors [1]. Based on the model, measures have been established to rate general interaction perceptions and situation-specific instances from the first and third perspectives. The research question follows: “Do submissive and dominant conditions affect the participants’ perceptions of the interaction?”.


The Interpersonal Grid (IG) is a one-item questionnaire that assesses participants’ beliefs concerning the behavior of their conversational partner [2]. Social Behavior Inventory (SBI) is used to assess own behavior during an interaction [3]. The current project aims to elicit and evaluate the participants' perceptions of social interactions on the Interpersonal Circumplex communal and autonomous axis using IG and SBI measurements. The pairs of participants are asked to engage in a three-part dyadic interaction including Task 1 – introducing themselves to each other, Task 2 – explaining a concept, and Task 3 - providing feedback on the explanation of the other. Two conditions will be available: one requiring a participant to explain a topic of their choosing, and the second condition – explaining a topic provided by the researchers.


Collected scores will be used to validate whether the emotional responses have been elicited during the social interaction tasks. The two hypotheses are: the participants in the dominant condition will rate their performance higher on the autonomous axis and will rate the other participant lower on the same axis, while the participants in the submissive condition will rate themselves lower on the autonomous axis and the other participant higher. The second hypothesis suggests, during Task 1 there will be minor differences between the participants’ scores on autonomous and communal axes, while there will be more significant differences in Task 2 and Task 3.


Using the findings of the current project, in future research we will attempt to establish a possible relationship between the behavioral and EEG neural correlates to apply it to the design of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technologies.


[1] M. A. Fournier, D. S. M. David, and D. C. Zuroff, “Origins and Applications of the Interpersonal Circumplex,” in Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, pp. 57–73. doi:10.1002/9781118001868.ch4

[2] D. S. Moskowitz and D. C. Zuroff, “Assessing Interpersonal Perceptions Using the Interpersonal Grid.,”Psychol. Assess., vol. 17, pp. 218–230, 2005. doi:10.1037/1040-3590.17.2.218

[3] D. S. Moskowitz, “Cross-situational generality and the interpersonal circumplex,” J. Pers. Soc. Psychol., vol. 66, pp. 921–933, 1994. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.66.5.921