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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Gender Comparisons in Social and Personality Characteristics.docx

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York University
PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

Chapter 6 Gender Comparisons in Social and Personality Characteristics  In this chapter, we will explore gender comparisons in three areas: 1. Communication patterns 2. Characteristics related to helping and caring 3. Aggression and power  Social constructionist approach- we construct or invent our own version of reality based on prior experiences, social interactions and beliefs Communication Patterns  Verbal Communication o Talkativeness  Men and women were shown to be equally talkative when interviewed on a talk show  The research shows mixed data, however it does not support the “talkative female” stereotype o Interruptions  Men interrupt more than women o Language Style  Gender differences are subtle  Men are more likely to curse  Only minimal gender differences in politeness during conversations or in writing style  Women are more likely to use hesitant phases, however people rarely use hesitant phrases when talking to a person of the same gender o The content of language  Women and men were equally likely to talk about four categories of the topics: 1. A person of the other gender 2. A person of the same gender 3. Academic issues 4. Jobs  Only statistically different was that men talk more about sports  Non Verbal Communication o Personal Space  Refers to the invisible boundary around each person  In general, women have smaller personal spaces than men  In the world of work, high status individuals occupy larger physical work spaces  The executives(mostly men) occupy these spaces o Body Posture  Men’s postures are more relaxed  Men often use more “conversational space” in their verbal interactions because they may talk longer and interrupt more often  Men use more “personal space” and their own postures require greater physical space o Visual Gaze  Females typically gaze more at their conversational partner  People gaze more at females o Facial Expression  Gender differences in facial expression are substantial  Women smile more especially when interacting with strangers  The gender difference in smiling has important social implications.  It can affect produce positive responses. You are more likely to move closer to someone who is smiling  When a man and woman interact, a woman’s smile can make the man feel more self confident.  However, the typical man does not smile much to encourage a woman  The gender difference also has a dark interpretation.  Some women bravely smile at someone making fun of them or sexually harassing them  Social tension is a strong predictor of smiling in women- women often smile because they feel uncomfortable  Women and men send different messages through facial expressions  When people see an angry female, they judge her to be showing a moderate amount of fear. People also perceive more sadness than anger in a female’s ambiguous facial expression o Decoding Ability  Refers to your skill in looking at another person’s nonverbal behavior and figuring out what emotion that person is feeling  Females are more likely to decode nonverbal expressions more accurately Potential Explanations for Gender Differences in Communication  Power and Social Status Explanation  Social Learning Explanation Characteristics Related to Helping and Caring  Two stereotypes we have about gender differences in helpfulness are: 1. Men are considered more helpful in activities requiring heroism 2. Females are more helpful in offering assistance and emotinal support to family members and friends  Altruism o Means providing unselfish help to others who are in need without anticipating any reward o Research shows gender similarities although men are more helpful with more physically dangerous tasks o Women are somewhat more likely to undergo pain and potential medical problems in order to help another person o Researchers believe that gender differences in helpfulness can be explained by social roles o Social roles are a culture’s shared
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