Shechtman, N. and Horowitz, L. M. (2006). Interpersonal and non-interpersonal interactions, interpersonal motives, and the effects of frustrated motives. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(8), 1126-1139.
A new circumplex model of interpersonal interaction emphasizes the motives that drive interpersonal behaviors and the negative affect (such as anger) that occurs when a strongly activated motive is frustrated. This study examined the model experimentally by varying conditions designed to activate and frustrate interpersonal motives. One hundred twenty-nine students engaged in text-based discussions using a computer. Three factors were varied: (a) activation of interpersonal motives— participants believed the interaction was interpersonal (with a human) or non-interpersonal (with a computer); (b) individual differences in motive activation—assertive and nonassertive participants were compared (strong vs. weak motive to influence others); and (c) level of frustration of activated motives—the “partner’s” messages contained dominating or non-dominating language. Participants who believed their interaction was interpersonal produced more interpersonal behaviors of various types. Assertive participants who interacted with a dominating and apparently human partner produced a disproportionate amount of hostility, indicating anger ascribed to frustrated motives.