Characterizing the linguistic chameleon: personal and social correlates of linguistic style accommodation

Kate Muir, Adam Joinson, Rachel Cotterill, Nigel Dewdney

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Linguistic style accommodation between conversationalists is associated with positive social outcomes. We examine social power and personality as factors driving the occurrence of linguistic style accommodation, and the social outcomes of accommodation. Social power was manipulated to create 144 face-to-face dyadic interactions between individuals of high versus low power and 64 neutral power interactions. Particular configurations of personality traits (high self-monitoring, Machiavellianism and leadership, and low self-consciousness, impression management and agreeableness), combined with a low power role, led to an increased likelihood of linguistic style accommodation. Further, greater accommodation by low power individuals positively influenced perceptions of subjective rapport and attractiveness. We propose individual differences interact with social context to influence the conditions under which non-conscious communication accommodation occurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-484
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
Early online date17 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Communication
  • Linguistics
  • impression formation
  • Personality
  • Power


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