Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1985, 60, 83-95. @ Perceptual and Motor Skills 1985 DOUBLE-BIND COMMUNICATIONS A N D RESPONDENTS' RELUCTANCE T O AFFIRM THE VALIDITY OF THEIR SELF-DISCLOSURES' D O N KUIKEN University of Alberta, Edmonton AND KENNETH HILL St. Mary's University2 Summmy.-It was hypothesized that double-bind communications would increase respondents' use of verbal nonimmediacy, a variation in language style which indicates reluctance to affirm the validity of explicit communication content. To assess this hypothesis, a male confederate created conflicting expectations by describing himself as first independent and then dependent to 10 concep~allysimple and 10 conceptually complex male participants (as defined by their scores on Tuckman's 1966 Individual Topic Inventory) who were asked to respond with disclosures on similar topics. Further, the confederate acknowledged the incongruity in his self-disclosures to one-half of the participants but not to the other half. As expected, the conceptually complex participants who had not heard the confederate's acknowledgment of incongruity showed the greatest increase in nonimmediacy during their disclosures to the confederate. The original statement of the double-bind hypothesis (Bateson, Jackson, Haley, & Weakland, 1956) described how metacommunication components in interpersonal messages may contradict other communication components and thereby precipitate pathological behavior in recipients of such messages. Despite widespread consideration and amplification (Sluzki & Ransom, 1976), the double-bind hypothesis has led to conceptual disarray (Schuham, 1967) and empirical efforts of doubtful relevance (Abeles, 1976). These difficulties have two fundamental sources. First, the defining features of double-bind situations are abstractly elegant but remarkably resistant to empirical precision. In fact, it is doubtful whether the original authors were able to maintain the desired differentiation between actual double-bind communications involving logical paradox and simply contradictory messages of the same logical order (Ginsburg, 1974). Second, the consequences of double-bind situations have not been spelled out very precisely. This is primarily because the hypothesis originally described the etiology of schizophrenia and, more recently (Sluzki & Vernon, 1971), other equally amorphous diagnostic categories. The original authors' reference to more direct and specific consequences, e.g., exaggerated literalness, unlabeled metaphor, have been largely ignored, perhaps because these, like the double-bind situation itself, require precise definition of meta'This research was supported by Canada Council Grant S72-1409 to the first author. Requests for reprints may be sent to Don Kuiken, Department of Psychology, Biological Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton. Alberta, Canada T 6 G 2E9. 'Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3. 84 D. KUIKEN & K. HILL communicative elements in messages-an unrnet requirement in research to date. The present study provides a reformulation of the double-bind concept which allows empirical precision without loss of the intended psychological significance of double-bind situations. Our reformulation defines binding communications in terms of the recipient's perceptions rather than the sender's messages per se. In addition, it is suggested that nonirnmediacy (Wiener & Mehrabian, 1968), a variation in language style indicating reluctance to affirm the validity of explicit communication content, provides a measure of one of the metacommunicative consequences of double-bind situations. Finally, an experimental examination of the resulting model is presented. The following criteria for double-bind situations are representative of those emphasized in the literature and consistent with those offered by Bateson, et al. (1956) : ( a ) two or more persons are involved in an intense and important relationship; ( b ) in this context, a communication asserts something about the relationship and then asserts something about the first assertion which contradicts it and creates a logical paradox; ( c ) the presence of the contradiction is concealed or denied; and ( d ) the recipient of the message is prevented from stepping outside of the frame set by the paradoxical message either by explicitly commenting on the contradiction or by withdrawing from the interaction. The present reformulation provides parallel but sliglltly different criteria. First, it is not,immediately clear why double-binds have been defined as involving intense and important relationships. For some authors, the term intensity has suggested strong affective ties and interaction over extended periods of time. But, if intensity of the relationship merely implies chat recipients of the double-bind will not withdraw from the relationship, it is, of course, redundant with the fourth criterion listed above. In contrast, according to Bateson, et al. (1956), intensity implies that the person "feels it is vitally important that he discriminate accurately what sort of message is being communicated so that he may respond appropriately" (p. 254). In other words, intensity is important to the extent that the recipient is motivated to determine accurately what is appropriate behavior in the relationship. It should be clear that factors other than strong affective ties or extended interaction (e.g., unfamiliarity) may also affect an individual's motivation to determine accurately what is appropriate behavior in the relationship. Therefore, a more general and less misleading requirement for double-binds would be that the interpersonal relationship is not clearly defined. It seems plausible that, when withdrawal from interaction is difficult or prohibited (see below), such ambiguity will increase participants' motivation to discriminate DOUBLE-BIND AND NONIMMEDIACY 85 accurately the communication components which define desired or appropriate behavior. In sum, the first criterion may be restated economically as follows: two or more persons are involved in a relationship in which their conceptions of appropriate behavior in the relationship are ambiguous or unclear. The second criterion of the original theory stressed that logical paradox in the message elements is essential for double-binds to occur. This criterion requires that one participant's self-presentation is contradicted or disqualified by metacommunicative elements in the message. The self-presentation components of a message are those which explicitly or implicitly communicate selfimage and, hence, convey what is appropriate behavior in the relationship, e.g., "Halt! I am a policeman." Metacommunicative elements are those message components which convey how other aspects of the communication are to be taken, e.g., "I was just teasing." When the self-presentation and metacommunicative elements are explicit and contradictory, the result is clearly logical paradox, e.g., "Do not do as I tell you." However, when the selfpresentation component and/or metacommunication component is implicit rather than explicit, the differentiation of logical paradox from simple incompatibility among two self-presentational components is practically impossible. For example, in the Bateson, et al. (1956) example of the mother who simulates a loving greeting while also subtly withdrawing, it is impossible to determine whether (a) the withdrawing behavior is a metacommunicative disqualification of the positive self-presentation component, and, hence, a logical paradox, or ( b ) the withdrawing behavior is simply a self-presentation component of the same logical order but incongruent with the positive self-presentation component. This definitional impasse is unavoidable given our present lack of knowledge about implicit messages because, by definition, implicit communication elements do not have explicit encoding or decoding rules to aid either the victim or the researcher. It may be more useful to regard logical paradox as the prototype for rather than defining feature of double-bind communications and, then, determine what makes them psychologically significant to the recipient. One interpretation of logical paradoxes is that they are problematic because the incompatibility of the deductions is detectable but, at the same time, inexplicable. As a case in point, although logical paradoxes of the type used to describe double binds have long been known, it was not until 1910 that Bertrand Russell (Whitehead & Russell, 1910) "solved" the paradox by proposing the rule that an assertion involving all members of a class cannot itself be a member of that class. Analogously, the psychological significance of double-binds may be that, at the time of communication, the incompatibility of two selfpresentational components 07 of a metacommunicative and a self-presentational component is detectable but inexplicable. In other words, metacommunication about incompatible communication components may be difficult or im- 86 D. KUIKEN & K. HILL possible either in the face of actual logical paradox or when one of the incompatible components is implicit rather than explicit in the message. W e are proposing that these circumstances are psychologically equivalent and, therefore, that it may be inappropriate to define double-binds simply in terms of the encoded communication structure. Instead, a second criterion for doublebinds may be stated as follows: a communication is given which includes two mutually incompatible self-presentations or a metacommunicatively disqualified self-presentation and, hence, includes contradictory definitions of appropriate behavior by the recipient; the incompatibility is detectable by the recipient but he is unable to metacommunicate explicitly about the incompatibility because one or both of the incompatible elements is implicit in the message. A third and final criterion is as follows: the recipient of the communication is unable to withdraw from the interaction or to avoid the impact of the other person's incompatible self-presentations by discontinuing the interaction. This inability may be due to dependency, prohibitions, face-saving, et cetera. In summary, a double-bind situation occurs when, in a relatively undefined relationship from which the recipient is unable or unwilling to withdraw, one person presents a communication which ( a ) the other person perceives as providing mutually incompatible definitions of the relationship and ( b ) one or both of these incompatible elements is implicit to the recipient, i.e., he is unable to metacommunicate explicitly about the incompatibility. It should be noted that verbal-nonverbal inconsistencies meet the preceding criteria only when there are no conventional or explicit decoding rules for the nonverbal messages. Obvious sarcasm is not double-binding but implicit hostility in voice tone during a verbal statement of affection may be. Responses to Double-binds Responses to double-binds defined in the preceding way are almost certainly multifaceted. However, certain facets, unlike anxiety (Dush & Brodsky, 1981; Smith, 1976), reaction time (Ciotola, 1961), etc., are part of the communication process emphasized by Bateson, et al. ( 1956). Among these, some (e.g., general suspiciousness of metacommunicative messages, accepting all messages literally, etc.) depend upon persistent and repeated exposure to double-bind situations and provide the link to pathological symptoms. These, however, are related to more specific responses to double-bind situations that are also described by Bateson, et al. ( 1956), e.g., extreme literalness, use of unlabeled metaphor, et cetma. These specific responses seem designed to minimize the extent to which the respondent's self-presentation will explicitly contrast with the implicit definitions of appropriate behavior perceived in the message. For example, a small boy climbing on the cupboard to the cookie jar may hear a stern, "What are you doing, Johnny?!" Rather than DOUBLE-BIND AND NONIMMEDIACY 87 reply in a way which would explicitly contrast with his mother's implicit reminder of the prohibition against cookies between meals, Johnny may respond (inappropriately given the context and the phrasing of the question) by answering the literal meaning of the question, e.g., "Climbing on the cupboard, Mom." There may be other means by which respondents to double-binds minimize the contrast between their self-presentation and the sender's implicit commands. One possibility, consistent with the original formulation but not stated there, is that recipients of double-bind communications will dissociate themselves from the self-presentational implications of their messages by implicitly conveying reluctance to affirm the validity of their explicit communication content. Specifically, persons in a double-bind situation may use subtle variations in language style to indicate that they are not fully "in" or "behind" their words or that they are not "really" what their explicit communica~ion denotes, a feature of communication sometimes called duplicity (Fierman, 1965) or nongenuineness (Truax & Carkhuff, 1967). These implicit metacommunicative hints of the communicator's reluctance to affirm explicit content may subtly dissociate the communicator from the self-presentation that is either implicit or explicit in the communication content. Wiener and Mehrabian (1968) have identified criteria for variations in language style which serve as subtle cues to this process and which they call nonimmediacy, i.e., separateness, non-identification, or indirectness in the relationship between a communicator and rhe explicit content of the communication. Some of the criteria for nonimmediacy rather explicitly describe tentativeness and uncertainty about the content of a communication. Specifically, the use of explicit qualification (e.g., "I feel," "it seems," "supposedly") denotes tentativeness, and, the use of negation with marked qualifiers (e.g., "She's not bad looking" rather than "She's good looking") indicates apprehension about validating the simple declarative assertion. Other criteria for nonimmediacy may be interpreted as indicative of reluctance to affirm explicit content of a communication if some additional but plausible assumptions are made about their meanings. Specifically, when context determines that the referent is the communicator's own action, the use of generalized pronouns (e.g., "You get angry when . . ." rather than "I get angry when . . .") suggests reluctance to affirm that the communication is indeed self-referential. Similarly, use of possessive references to parts or characteristics of self when these are not required by the communication context (e.g., "My feeling is . . ." rather than "I feel . . .") connotes reluctance to affirm the self as agent in the action or relationship described. Also, reluctance to affirm the self as agent is suggested by use of phrases indicating passivity (e.g., "I have to go now" rather than "I will go now"). In sum, the notion that nonimmediacy reflects the communicator's reluctance to affirm the explicit communication content has 88 D. KUIKEN & K. HILL face validity. Furthermore, consistent with this interpretation, Kuiken ( 1981) reported research demonstrating that nonimmediacy in fact increases in situations that increase the communicator's reluctance to affirm the content of a communication. If this interpretation of the criteria for nonirnmediacy is valid, then it is likely that persons faced with double-bind situations will be more nonimmediate, reflecting their increased motivation to dissociate themselves from their self-presentations and thereby minimize the extent to which these can be explicitly contrasted with the incompatible definitions of appropriate behavior. An Experimental Demonst~ation The preceding discussion provides an alternative conception of doublebind situations and a suggested measure for one possible consequence of double-binds. An experiment was designed to assess this conception. The first criterion, that of an undefined relationship, was assumed met by bringing participants into an experimental situation, itself an unusual and unpredictable environment, and asking them to make personal disclosures to a stranger (actually a confederate) in what was ostensibly a study of impression formation. The self-disclosure and impression formation emphases were expected to increase the salience of any uncertainty regarding self-presentation in participants' communications. The third criterion, inability to withdraw, was also assumed met by the normal but implicit experimental demands and rewards for continued participation and by the experimental requirement that the participant self-disclose to the confederate. The second criterion, i.e., detectable but implicit incompatible definitions of appropriate behavior, was met by the manipulated conditions of the experimental design. Consistent with the notion that it is inappropriate to define double-binds simply in terms of communication elements for which there are explicit encoding or decoding rules, a confederate presented all participants with communications which implicitly provided incompatible definitions of their relationship. Since there is considerable evidence that strong reciprocity norms regulate self-disclosures in interpersonal relations (Cozby, 1973), the confederate created potentially incompatible definitions of appropriate behavior by first defining himself as strongly motivated for self-sufficiency and independence and then describing himself as needful of others when troubled. Such self-presentations were expected to convey implicitly the appropriateness of, first, the participants' disclosures of their own independence and, then, of their disclosures of their needs for others. Whether the preceding incompatibility was actually detected was manipulated by selecting participan~swho were either conceptually complex or conceptually simple. Conceptual complexity is defined as the ability to process DOUBLE-BINDAND NONIMMEDIACY 89 complex information (Schroder, Driver, & Screufert, 1967), especially when information is made more complex by keeping dimensionality constant but increasing the inconsistency of the information (Mayo & Crockett, 1964; Tripodi & Bieri, 1964). It was expected that conceptually complex participants would likely detect the two incompatible elements of the confederate's messages, whereas conceptually simple participants would be less likely to detect the incompatibility and instead attend to only one of the incompatible communication elements. Participants who perceived the incompatibility were also expected to have difficulty metacornrnunicatively explicating this incompatibiliry because both of the commands were implicit in the confederate's messages. However, to assess more directly the importance of metacommunication, metacommunicative explication was made easier for half the participants when the confederate offered a metacommunicative comment acknowledging the incompatibility of his self-disclosures. It was expected that making the incompatibility explicit would "unbind" the participant by enabling him explicitly to consider and choose among the alternative responses-a possibility precluded when the incompatibility remains implicit and inexplicable. A double-bind situation should only exist, then, for conceptually complex persons in the condition where the confederate offers no explicit metacommunicative comment. It was predicted that participants in this condition would be more nonimmediate in their disclosures to the confederate than participants in the other conditions. The participants were 10 conceptually complex and 10 conceptually simple men selected from a sample of approximately 200 introductory psychology students who had been administered the Tuckman ( 1966) Individual Topic Inventory. The inventory is a %-item forced-choice questionnaire which has a moderate but reliable correlation with less objective measures of conceptual complexity, such as the Paragraph Completion Test (Schroder, 1971). Schroder, et al. (1967) suggested that it is a viable research instrument when extreme groups are used. In the present study, individuals who had System I or System IV scores in the ninth or tenth decile and eighth or lower in the other three were eligible for participation. These criteria were based on norms established on another sample of 387 students in introductory psychology. Students classified as System I (conceptually simple) and System IV (conceptually complex) were contacted by telephone until 10 of each type agreed to participate in the experiment. Participants received course credit. Procedure The male confederate and the male participant were told that the experi- 90 D. KUIKEN & K. HILL menter was interested in impression formation under conditions in which one person knew more about the other than the other knew about him. This guise provided a rationale for telling the participant that he had been randomly selected to talk about two topics which the confederate did not discuss. Actually, these topics provided an initial baseline level of nonimmediacy in each participant's self-disclosure. The participant was instructed to examine a list of topics which he and the confederate were to discuss, including the two baseline topics and the four topics on which the confederate subsequently spoke. The baseline topics were ( a ) What kinds of parties or social gatherings do you like and ( b ) What do you enjoy most and get the most satisfaction from in your studies at University? The test topics were ( c ) What are you like when you are most satisfied with your relationship with other people, ( d ) What aspect of your personality do you dislike most or regard as your greatest handicap, ( e ) What kinds of things do others do that make you very upset or irritated, and ( f ) Under what circumstances have people been most important or meant the most to you? If the participant agreed that he would talk on these topics (all did so), he and the confederate were led to separate rooms. In the participant's room was a loudspeaker through which he could hear the confederate and a microphone through which he could speak to the confederate. The participant's microphone was connected to a tape recorder in the confederate's room to record the participant's communications. After the participant finished speaking on the first two baseline topics, the confederate played a prerecorded self-disclosure of his first topic (topic c, above). The participant was instructed to proceed immediately with his self-disclosure on the same topic. The confederate's prerecorded communication on each of the remaining topics preceded the participant's communication on these topics in the same manner. Finally, the participant was asked to complete a postexperimental questionnaire, he was questioned to determine any failures in the experimental deception, and he was carefully debriefed. Confedwate's disclosure.-Test topics (c ) and ( d ) were neutral with respect to the manipulations and were designed to be typical for college undergraduate males. On test topics ( e ) and ( f ) , however, the confederate's communications were specifically designed to provide incongruent information about the confederate. On topic ( e ) , what others do that makes you angry, the confederate spoke of being irritated when "a person tries to get me to do something I don't want to do," and he added that "I don't like to do things when I am expected to by other people." He then criticized the experimental situation as one which made him uncomfortable because the experimenter wanted them t o talk on particular topics rather than topics of their own preference. Next he spoke of his parents who also "expect me to do things like they want them done," such as living at home rather than in a place of his DOUBLE-BINDA N D NONIMMEDIACY 91 own. H e concluded by saying he was mature enough "to do what I want to do." On the final topic, the confederate spoke in a way which was incongruent but not necessarily inconsistent with the preceding statement of his desire for independence. He said people were most important to him when "I really needed them and they were able to give me some encouragement or advice." He then spoke of a friend who helped him by suggesting that he stay in school at a time when he felt like quitting. He also praised his parents for the same encouragement, saying, "It made us closer, too." H e concluded by saying that, "The times that people have meant the most to me are those-when I've been really down or depressed." For half the participants, the confederate's final message was preceded by an explicit metacommunicative comment designed to acknowledge the apparent incongruity in his self-disclosures. This transition was as follows: You know? When I think of this question, the things I think of seem to be inconsistent with what I just said about wanting to be independent and not do what others expect of me. It's not really inconsistent, I guess; it's just like there's another part of me that's different and would like to depend on others sometimes. Postexperimental qzlestionnaire.-A series of 7-point bipolar scales was devised to assess ( a ) participants' like or dislike for the confederate, ( b ) the perceived complexity or simplicity of the confederate's personality, ( c ) participants' comfort or discomfort while talking to the confederate, and ( d ) the extent to which participants discussed things that they disliked or evaluated negatively. Measilrement of change in nonimmediacy.-Participants' communications were transcribed and scored by a judge, who was blind to conditions and hypotheses. Wiener and Mehrabian's ( 1968) criteria for nonimmediacy include the following categories of nonimmediate modes of expression: temporal (e.g., "I have been a lonely person" rather than "I am a lonely person") ; spatial ("I dislike that trait" rather than "I dislike this trait"); part speaker ("I dislike my sad feelings" rather .than "I dislike feeling sad"); part object ("I appreciate his pride" rather than "I appreciate him when he is proud"); class speaker ("People don't like dishonesty" rather than "I don't like dishonesty"); class shared ("Friends like the same things" rather than "My friends and I like the same things"); class object ("I dislike shy people" rather than "I dislike him when he is shy"); negation ("I am not nervous" rather than "I am calm"); speaker implicit ("He is a bore" rather than "He bores me"); object implicit ("I was upset" rather than "I was upset by him"); speaker passivity ("I can't help but feel angry" rather than "I feel angry"); object passivity ("He has to be ashamed" rather than "He is ashamed"); unilaterality ("I avoid him" rather than "He and I avoid each other") ; modified ("It seems that he is vain" rather than "He is vain"); intensity-extensity ("He is sort of shy" rather than "He is shy"). Nonimmediacy was scored each time a category was used when a more D. KUIKEN 92 & K. HILL immediate alternative could have been used to convey the same message. Interjudge agreement with the first author's scoring was .90. Final scores used in the analysis were the differences between the mean number of nonimmediacy categories per 100 words on the two baseline topics and the average number of nonimmediacy categories per 100 words on each of the four test topics. RESULTS Of fundamental importance to the test of the hypothesis is the assumption that conceptually complex participants would be more likely to perceive the complexity of the confederate's disclosures than the conceptually simple participants. This assumption was supported in that conceptually complex participants rated the confederate's personality as significantly more complex ( M = 6.30) than did the conceptually simple participants ( M = 5.40; F1,lG = 6.00, MSe = .68, fl .O5). Of equal importance to the test of the hypothesis is the assumption that participants would be unable to comment explicitly on the incompatibility of the confederate's disclosures when there was no transition statement acknowledging the incompatibility. Although this variation is difficult to assess directly, it was expected that conceptually complex persons who did not receive the transition statement would be less willing to risk presenting negatively evaluated self-disclosures than would conceptually complex persons who did receive the transition statement. An interaction of conceptual complexity. X transition statement indicated that conceptually complex participants reported disclosing considerably fewer things that they evaluated negatively when the confederate provided no transition ( M = 3.40) than when he did ( M = 5.00), whereas the inverse was true ( M = 4.80 vs M = 3.80) for conceptually simple participants (Fl,lo = 10.56, MSe = .SO, p < ,011. T o examine the major hypothesis that greater change in nonimmediacy from baseline would be found in communications of the conceptually complex/transition-absent participants, a 2 X 2 X 4 analysis of variance was performed with conceptual complexity/simplicity, presence or absence of a transition statement and test topics (repeated measures) as factors. As expected, there was a significant interaction of conceptual complexity )( transition statement (F1,I6 = 5.30, MSe = 77.8, p < .05). Specifically, conceptually complex participants showed a larger nonimmediacy increase in the transition absent condition ( M = 10.0) than in the transition present condition ( M = 2.7), whereas this difference was negligible for the conceptually simple participants ( M = 3.5 vs M = 5.2). Of particular importance are the participants' scores for change in nonimmediacy on the final topic since the manipulation of incompatibility was not complete until the confederate had spoken on that final topic. Examination of the trial-by-trial variations indi- < 93 DOUBLE-BIND AND NONIMMEDIACY cated that, as expected, the interaction of conceptual complexity X transition statement was specific to the final test topic; see Table 1. That is, the simple interaction for each of the first three test topics was nonsignificant, whereas that for the final topic was significant (tie = 2.58, 9 < .01). TABLE 1 MEANNONIMMEDIACY CHANGE SCORES ON TESTTOPICS AS A FUNCTION OF CONCEPTUAL COMPLEXITYAND TRANSITION STATEMENT Conceptually Complex Conceptually Simple Transition Topics c-e Combined Final Topic Present Absent Present Absent 3.4 8.4 5.7 2.4 14.7 3.8 6.7 0.4 DISCUSSION Consistent support was found for the hypothesis that participants who detected but were unable to explicate mecacommunicatively the incompatible self-presentational components in the confederate's message were more nonimmediate in their subsequent self-disclosures. Conceptually complex participants who did not receive the confederate's metacommunicative ekplication of the incompatibility of his self-disclosures probably used a more nonimmediate language style to convey their reluctance to affirm explicit communication content and to dissociate themselves subtly from the self-presentations either implicit or explicit in their self-disclosures. Although caution is warranted given the small sample used in the present exploratory study, our results suggest that further research of this kind may be valuable. The results cannot simply be attributed to the effects of presenting incongruent information since all participants received the same incongruent messages. Instead, other factors must be considered. First, the largest increase in nonimmediacy occurred among conceptually complex participants, i.e., participants who were also more likely to perceive the confederate as inconsistent than were the conceptually simple subjects. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that the incongruity must be detected to provide conditions for a double-bind situation. Second, it should be noted that perceived incongruiry was necessary but insufficient to cause the increase in nonimmediacy since conceptually complex participants only showed this effect when the confederate did not explicitly acknowledge the incongruity in his disclosures. Participants in this experimental condition also reported the greatest reluctance to present negatively evaluated self-disclosures, which may be a subtle form of withdrawal in a situation which required some form of disclosure. The overall pattern is consistent with the hypothesis rhar incongruiry which is detectable 94 D. KUIKEN & K. HILL but metacommunicatively inexplicable is necessary to double bind the recipient and motivate him to dissociate himself subtly from the self-presentational implications of his self-disclosures. That perceived incongruity alone does not cause negative reactions in the recipient is evident also in the fact that the greater perceived inconsistency by conceptually complex subjects was not accompanied by increased dislike for or discomfort with the confederate. This is consistent with studies showing that perceptible inconsistency among verbal and nonverbal channels of affective information does not generally cause negative affect (Bilgenthal, 1974; Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967; Zahn, 1973, 1975). However, this is not, as frequently implied, contrary to double-bind theory. Instead, it indicates, as the present study confirms, that other criteria must be met before negative reactions to incongruity should be expected. Conclusion In sum, when the criterion of actual logical parndox is relaxed in favor of the psychologically equivalent requirement of detectable but inexplicable incompatibility in definitions of appropriate behavior, the double-bind hypothesis is amenable to experimental examination. This relaxation of criteria is not as liberal as the equation of simply contradictory verbal-nonverbal messages with double-binds (Beakel & Mehrabian, 1969; Berger, 1965; Guindon, 1971; Loeff, 1966; Vetter, 1969). It does, however, allow bypassing the presently impossible discrimination between logical paradox and simple contradiction when one or both of the incompatible messages is implicit. It does so by making the psychological response to logical paradox, rather than actual paradox, the essential criterion. 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