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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Social Psychology

Conversational Flow: The Emergence and Regulation of Solidarity through Social Interaction

Social Psychology

Social interactions shape social relations. When engaged in conversation with friends or strangers, with individuals or groups, we often pay close attention to what is being said. But independent of content, the form of a conversation has a strong influence too, particularly for feelings of "we-ness" and solidarity. In this research, we show that seemingly trivial aspects of a conversation act as signals for the quality of social relations and for levels of agreement among us. Whether conversations flow smoothly or whether a brief silence occurs can substantially change how certain we are about the relationship and about common views. The art of conversing can thus establish, threaten, change, or confirm social relations and social realities.

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology


  • Koudenburg, N., Postmes, T., & Gordijn, E.H (2016, available online). Beyond Content of Conversation: The Role of Conversational Form in the Emergence and Regulation of Social Structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review. Doi: 10.1177/1088868315626022
  • Koudenburg, N., Postmes, T, Gordijn, E.H., & Van Mourik Broekman, A. (2015). Uniform and Complementary Social Interaction: Distinct Pathways to Group Unity. PLOS ONE, 10,6 e0129061.
  • Koudenburg, N., Gordijn, E.H., & Postmes, T. (2014). “More than words”: Social Validation in Close Relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40,1517-1528. doi:10.1177/0146167214549945.
  • Koudenburg, N., Postmes, T, & Gordijn, E.H. (2014). Conversational Flow and Entitativity: The Role of Status. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53, 350-366. doi:10.1111/bjso.12027.
  • Koudenburg, N., Postmes, T, & Gordijn, E.H. (2013). Conversational Flow Promotes Solidarity. PLoS ONE 8(11): e78363. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078363.
  • Koudenburg, N., Postmes, T, & Gordijn, E.H. (2011). Disrupting the flow: How brief silences in group conversations affect social needs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47 (2), 512-515. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.12.006.
Successful grant proposals and other achievements
  • Google Research Award ($38.900) for the project entitled: "Social consequences of short delays in mediated communication: Towards a social psychological solution"
  • Best Dissertation Award, American Psychological Association (APA), division 49 – Small Group Research
  • Best Dissertation Award, Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP).
  • Best Dissertation Award, University of Groningen (University-wide award).
  • Best Dissertation Award, Dutch Association of Social Psychological Researchers (ASPO).
Last modified:29 March 2021 10.17 a.m.