Question asking as a dyadic behavior

Avraham N. Kluger, Thomas E. Malloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Huang, Yeomans, Brooks, Minson, and Gino (2017) studied the role of question asking in conversations. They claimed to have identified "a robust and consistent relationship between question-asking and liking" (p. 1), where liking is affected largely by follow-up questions, rather than by switch questions. They concluded that their "data support a trait-level model of question-asking behavior" (p. 12), and that "question-asking is a critical component of active listening" (p. 14). Our theoretical, methodological, and empirical reanalyses of their speed-dating study (Study 3), where liking was operationalized as being offered a second date, lead to different conclusions. Their speed-dating data conforms to an asymmetric block design, and should have been analyzed using the social relations model, to unconfound the effects of the actor, partner, dyad, and gender. Social relations modeling showed that about a third of the variance of question asking can be attributed to a trait, but that another third of the variance can be attributed to the specific dyad, and some smaller portion of the variance can be attributed to the partner's tendency to elicit question asking. Bivariate social relations modeling showed that latent scores of follow-up questions and switch questions are largely isomorphic. Finally, asking an opposite sex partner questions tends to be inversely related to being offered a second date, at least for men. Based on theory, our reanalysis, and other empirical findings, we conclude that offering a second-date is not equivalent to liking, and that question asking is different from listening. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1127-1138
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


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