Interrupting people : the pros and cons

What might you gain (or lose) by interrupting someone? The question has been experimentally examined by Professor Sally Dew Farley, of the Psychology department at the University of Baltimore, US. Experimental subjects who had been asked to discuss an article were systematically interrupted by confederates – revealing the following :


• The Upside for the Interrupters : “Interrupters gained in status and targets of interruption lost status.”

• The Downside for the Interrupters : “As expected, interrupters, especially female interrupters, were liked less than those who did not interrupt.”

Source: ‘Attaining Status at the Expense of Likeability: Pilfering Power Through Conversational Interruption.’ in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Volume 32, Number 4, 241-260

Further resources:  A very comprehensive selection of scholarly papers about interruptions – from Adamczyk P. D. to Zou L. – can be found here.

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