The affective control of events within settings
This paper develops an affect control model of how behavior changes as actors move from setting to setting. After a review of other theoretical approaches to the problem, the affective meanings of settings are examined. Then, impression change equations are developed to assess how sentiments toward actors, behaviors and object-persons are affected by the setting in which interaction occurs. The tempo or characteristic activity level of a behavior setting appears to have the most impact on impression formation. Settings that are lively and fast-paced lead social actors and behaviors to be evaluated more favorably and make them seem more expressive. Actors also seem more admirable when they match their activity level to that of the setting. The current data provide the first effort to understand changes in impressions about settings themselves. Generally, the most important factor influencing how people feel about a setting after an event is the act that is committed there. Places are defiled by violent, aggressive behaviors, but seem nicer when conciliatory, inquisitive acts have occurred. Finally, the usual affect control theory assumption — that people act to minimize affective deflections — is employed along with the new impression-change formulas to analyze some interactions in which people might alter their behavior because of their location. © 1987 Gordon and Breach Science Publishers S.A. All rights reserved.
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