Differentiating Hostility and Indifference: Motive Autonomy as a Circumplex Moderator

Shelby Rae Curtis, University of Texas at El Paso


Basic personality models, such as the Interpersonal Circumplex and the Five Factor Model often conflict when defining the traits that form the negative pole of communion. Some argue that both hostility and indifference compose the opposite of warmth, whereas others collapse the two traits into one (e.g. hostility/indifference, cold/quarrelsomeness). Still others argue that it is indifference (or hostility) alone that should be considered the negative pole to communion. Whereas consolidation of traits may result in misinterpretations of interpersonal interactions and behaviors, choosing only hostility or indifference may miss critical information. Thus, the present research explores the inclusion of motive autonomy as a moderator through the lens of Self-Determination Theory, which states that autonomous motives are sought after for personal fulfillment. The driving effects in the present study were due to main effects of motive frustration, rather than a consistent effect due to manipulations of motive autonomy. However, the present study did find some evidence to suggest that individuals pursuing autonomous motives are more hostile when the achievement of such a motive is frustrated by another person, supporting the proposed theoretical synthesis. Ultimately, these findings address the need to continue to measure motive autonomy when predicting behavioral strategies and complementarity in interpersonal interactions in order to differentiate hostility and indifference both at a dispositional and interpersonal level.

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Recommended Citation

Curtis, Shelby Rae, "Differentiating Hostility and Indifference: Motive Autonomy as a Circumplex Moderator" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10817524.