Interdependence theory explains social interactions as they take place in the context of a particular situation (i.e., the interdependence structure) in which two people influence one another's outcomes by their behaviors.

Imagine a group of people gathered around a poker table. The players deal cards and throw poker chips on the board, and occasionally someone collects all of them and smiles. The players seem to think so hard you can almost see their brains ticking; they express disappointment, frustration, and joy; they call each other aggressive, conservative, and protective. How can such seemingly meaningless behavior evoke so much attention and emotion? And how can the players even talk about each other's personalities based merely on random movements of cards and chips? To study social behavior without ...

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