Listeners as Persuaders: The Effect of High-Quality Listening during Disagreements

Zoom Research Seminar

Self-help group sits in circle

Past event — 17 November 2021

Spoken language

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Prof. Dr. Guy Itzchakov

Associate Professor

University of Haifa

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Recent work suggests that high-quality listening, which is attentive, understanding, empathic, and non-judgmental, can shape speakers´ attitudes structure. Specifically, speakers who experience high-quality listening are more aware of their internal inconsistencies (objective attitude ambivalence; Itzchakov, Kluger & Castro, 2017), report greater attitude clarity (Itzchakov, DeMarree, Kluger, Turjeman-Levi, 2018), lower attitude extremity (Itzchakov & Kluger, 2017) and less prejudice (Itzchakov et al. 2020; Kalla & Brockman, 2020). Yet, less is known about the role that the listener´s attitude plays in the process.

I will present an ongoing project that examines the effects of high-quality listening during conversations that involve a difference of opinion. We hypothesized that relative to speakers who converse with moderate-quality listeners, speakers who converse with high-quality listeners report higher liking of their listeners, experience greater flow in the conversation (i.e., positivity resonance), can introspect more openly about their attitude (higher self-insight), and consequently, would report greater attitude similarity to the attitude of the listener, although the listeners do not convey any persuasive message.


Dr. Guy Itzchakov is an Assistant Professor at the University of Haifa, Department of Human Services.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2017 and was a postdoctoral fellow University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management, in 2018-2019. His focal line of research focuses on the effects of high-quality listening (e.g., attentive, empathic, and non-judgmental) on facilitating a change in speakers’ emotions, cognitions, and behavior. In addition, he conducts field experiments in organizations that examine the effects of listening training on the relationship between employees and their downstream effects on organizational outcomes. Guy´s research has appeared in leading journals in Applied and Social Psychology such as Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, Applied Psychology: An International Review, Harvard Business Review. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality, and Social Psychology Bulletin. His research is funded by grants from the Israel Science Foundation, Binational Science Foundation (Israel-U.S), and Templeton World Charity Foundation.



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty