Advertisement

(I Think) You Are Pretty: a Behavior Analytic Conceptualization of Flirtation

  • Jennifer A. Wade
Original Research

Abstract

Much research in flirtation has been approached from a socio-cognitive perspective and has overemphasized subjective self-reports rather than overt behavior. Existing work pertinent to flirtation is reviewed here in addition to proposing a behavior-analytic perspective on the topic with a conception that includes both rule-governed and contingency-shaped behavior. Of particular interest within a verbal behavior conception of flirtation is the importance of autoclitics—features of a verbal response that affect the listener’s reaction to the rest of the verbal response. Applications of a behavior analytic conception of flirtation and future directions relevant to research on interpersonal relationships are discussed.

Keywords

Autoclitics Interpersonal relationships Rule-governed behavior Contingency-shaped behavior Flirtation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Donald Hantula, Philip Hineline, Traci Cihon, Elizabeth Lorah, and Kevin Marchini for invaluable feedback on drafts of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Abrahams, M. F. (1994). Perceiving flirtatious communication: An exploration of the perceptual dimensions underlying judgments of flirtatiousness. The Journal of Sex Research, 31(4), 283–292.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499409551763.
  2. Ambady, N., & Rosenthal, R. (1992). Thin slices of expressive behavior as predictors of interpersonal consequences: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 256–274.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, J. S., & Wallander, R. J. (1999). Verbal Behavior. In B. A. Thyer (Ed.), The philosophical legacy of behaviorism (pp. 117–152). London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baruch, D. E., Kanter, J. W., Busch, A. M., Plummer, M. D., Tsai, M., Rusch, L. C., Landes, S. J., & Holman, G. I. (2009). Lines of evidence in support of FAP. In A guide to functional analytic psychotherapy: Awareness, courage, love and behaviorism (pp. 21–36). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Callaghan, G. M., Follette, W. C., Ruckstuhl Jr., L. E., & Linnerooth, P. J. N. (2008). The Functional Analytic Psychotherapy Rating Scale (FAPRS): A behavioral psychotherapy coding system. The Behavior Analyst Today, 9(1), 98–116.Google Scholar
  6. Catania, C. A. (2007). Learning. (interim 4th Ed.). New York: Sloan Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). The chameleon effect: The perception–behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6), 893–910.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.76.6.893.
  8. de Villiers, J. G., & de Villiers, P. A. (1974). Competence and performance in child language: Are children really competent to judge? Journal of Child Language, 1, 11–22.Google Scholar
  9. Dymond, S., & Barnes, D. (1995). A transformation of self-discrimination response functions in accordance with the arbitrarily applicable relations of sameness, more than, and less than. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 64, 163–184.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Eastwick, P. W., Finkel, E. J., Mochon, D., & Ariely, D. (2007). Selective versus unselective romantic desire: Not all reciprocity is created equal. Psychological Science, 18(4), 317–319.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01897.x.
  11. Egland, K. L., Spitzburg, B. H., & Zormeier, M. M. (1996). Flirtation and conversational competence in cross-sex platonic and romantic relationships. Communication Reports, 9(2), 105–117.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08934219609367643.Google Scholar
  12. Epstein, L. H. (1994). Ten-year outcome of behavioral family-based treatment for childhood obesity. Health Psychology, 13, 373–383.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Finkel, E. J., & Eastwick, P. W. (2008). Speed-dating. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 193–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grammar, K., Kruck, K., Juette, A., & Fink, B. (2000). Non-verbal behavior as courtship signals: The role of control and choice in selecting partners. Evolution and Human Behavior, 21, 371–390.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(00)00053-2.
  15. Hayes, S. C. (1994). Relational frame theory: A functional approach to verbal events. In Behavior Analysis of Language and Cognition, S.C. Hayes, L.J. Hayes, M. Sato, and K. Ono, eds., context press, Reno, NV (pp. 9–30).Google Scholar
  16. Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (Eds.). (2001). Relational frame theory: A post Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  17. Henningsen, D. D. (2004). Flirting with meaning: Examining miscommunication in flirting interactions. Sex Roles, 50, 481–489.  https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SERS.0000023068.49352.4b.
  18. Hineline, P. N. (1986). Re-tuning the operant-respondent distinction. In T. Thompson & M. D. Zeiler (Eds.), Analysis and integration of behavioral units (pp. 55–76). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  19. Howard, J. S., & Rice, D. E. (1988). Establishing a generalized autoclitic repertoire in preschool children. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 6, 45–59.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Hübner, M. M., Austin, J., & Miguel, C. (2008). Effects of praising qualifying autoclitics on the frequency of reading. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 24, 55–62.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Ickes, W., & Barnes, R. D. (1977). The role of sex and self-monitoring in unstructured dyadic interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(5), 315–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ickes, W., Bissonnette, V., Garcia, S., & Stinson, L. L. (1990). Implementing and using the dyadic interaction paradigm. In C. Hendrick & M. S. Clark (Eds.), Research methods in personality and social psychology (pp. 16–44). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Kenny, D. A., & La Voie, L. (1984). The social relations model. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol XVIII). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  24. Keyton, J., & Menzie, K. (2007). Sexually harassing messages: Decoding workplace conversation. Communication Studies, 58(1), 87–103.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10510970601168756.
  25. Koeppel, L. B., Montagne-Miller, Y., O’Hair, D., & Cody, M. J. (1993). Friendly? Flirting? Wrong? In P. J. Kalbfliesch (Ed.), Interpersonal communication: Evolving interpersonal relationships (pp. 13–42). Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Assoc.Google Scholar
  26. Kohlenberg, R. J., Tsai, M., & Kanter, J. W. (2009). What is functional analytic psychotherapy? In: A guide to functional analytic psychotherapy: awareness, courage, love and behaviorism (pp. 1–19). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  27. Kurzban, R., & Weeden, J. (2005). Hurry date: Mate preferences in action. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26, 227–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Levinson, S. C. (2003). Space in language and cognition: Explorations in cognitive diversity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Lloyd, K. E. (1994). Do as I say, not as I do. The Behavior Analyst, 17, 131–139.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1998.tb01712.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. Lodhi, S., & Greer, R. D. (1989). The speaker as listener. The Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 51(3), 353–359.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.1989.51-353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Carmen, L., Ruiz, F. J., Vizcaίno Torres, R. M., Sánchez Martίn, V., Gutiérrez Martίnez, O., & López López, J. C. (2011). A relational frame analysis of defusion interactions in acceptance and commitment therapy. A preliminary and quasi-experimental study with at-risk adolescents. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 11(2), 165–182.Google Scholar
  32. Michael, J. (1988). Establishing operations and the mand. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 6, 3–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  33. Moore, M. M. (1985). Non-verbal courtship patterns in women: Context and consequences. Ethology and Sociobiology, 6, 237–247.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(85)90016-0.
  34. Muehlenhard, C. L., Koralewski, M. A., Andrews, S. L., & Burdick, C. A. (1986). Verbal and nonverbal cues that convey interest in dating: Two studies. Behavior Therapy, 17, 404–419.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7894(86)80071-5.
  35. Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231–259.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.3.231.
  36. Place, S. S., Todd, P. M., Penke, L., & Asendorpf, J. B. (2009). The ability to judge the romantic interest of others. Psychological Science, 20, 22–26.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02248.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Practical Happiness (2009). Revolution in Dating & Relationship Advice: Actual example of meeting a woman online and first phone conversation. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from http://www.practicalhappiness.com/meeting-woman-online-and-first-phone-conversation.
  38. Prepin, K., Ochs, M., Pelachaud, C. (2013). Beyond backchannels: co-construction of dyadic stance by reciprocal reinforcement of smiles between virtual agents. In: Proceedings of the 35 th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Google Scholar
  39. Rosen, L. D., Cheever, N. A., Cummings, C., & Felt, J. (2008). The impact of emotionality and self-disclosure on online versus traditional dating. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 2124–2157.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2007.10.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sabini, J. & Silver, M. (1982). Flirtation and ambiguity. Moralities of everyday life. (pp.107–123). Oxford: Oxford University.Google Scholar
  41. Sautter, R. A., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2006). Empirical applications of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior with humans. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 22, 35–48.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Sheyab, M., Pritchard, J., & Malady, M. (2014). An extension of the effects of praising qualifying autoclitics on the frequency of reading. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 141–147.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal Behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tsai, M., Kohlenberg, R. J., Kanter, J. W., Kohlenberg, B., Follette, W. C., & Callaghan, G. M. (2009). A guide to functional analytic psychotherapy: Awareness, courage, love, and behaviorism. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  45. Vilardaga, R., Estévez, A., Levin, M. E., & Hayes, S. C. (2012). Deictic relational responding, empathy, and experiential avoidance as predictors of social anhedonia: Further contributions from relational frame theory. The Psychological Record, 62, 409–432.Google Scholar
  46. Villatte, M., Monestès, J., McHugh, L., Freixa i Baqué, E., & Loas, G. (2010). Adopting the perspective of another in belief attribution: Contribution of relational frame theory to the understanding of impairments in schizophrenia. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41, 125–134.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2009.11.004.
  47. Williams, G., & Greer, R. D. (1993). A comparison of verbal-behavior and linguistic communication curricula for training developmentally delayed adolescents to acquire and maintain vocal speech. Behavior, 1, 31–46.Google Scholar
  48. Wade, J. A. (2013). Analyzing “word games:” Complex functions of language during traditional face-to-face speed-dating and online speed-dating events. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  49. Wales, R. (1986). Deixis. In P. Fletcher & M. Garman (Eds.), Language acquisition (2nd ed., pp. 401–428). Cambridge: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zettle, R. D., & Hayes, S. C. (1982). Rule governed behavior: A potential theoretical framework for cognitive behavior therapy. In P. C. Kendall (Ed.), Advances in cognitive behavioral research and therapy (pp. 73–118). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Long BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations