Defining listening: Can we get rid of the adjectives?

Avraham N. Kluger*, Moran Mizrahi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Listening is a complex construct studied in various fields, including psychology, education, marketing, management, and medicine. Despite its importance, there is no agreed definition of the construct. Therefore, we review existing definitions of listening, primarily recent, focusing on those that describe listening in interpersonal contexts. We identify 20 adjectives describing listening and found two underlying themes: unobservable versus observable behaviors and focusing on the speaker's or listener's interests. Focusing on the unobservable and the speaker's interest, we propose a novel, adjective-free listening definition: the degree of devotion to co-exploring the Other with and for the other. Adopting a dyadic view, we argue that either the listener or the speaker can generate such devotion and initiate the co-creation of a listening state. Our new definition can contribute to developing empirical measures with good discriminant validity.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101639
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Aug 2023

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