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Chapter 6

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PSYC 3490
Nadiah Habib

Chapter 6  • Social constructionist approach: we construct or invent our own versions of reality, based on prior experiences, social interactions, and beliefs (focuses on language as a mechanism for categorizing our experiences) • Several factors related to the social setting have an important influence on the size of the gender differenes in social and personality characteristics: 1. Gender differences are usually largest when other people are present. For instance, women are especially likely to react positively to infants when other people are nearby. 2. Gender differences are generally largest when gender is prominent and other shared roles are minimized. For example, at a singles’ bar, a person’s gender is very relevant, so gender differences are likely to be large. In contrast, at a professional conference of accountants—where men and women have the same occupations— the work role will be emphasized, and gender differences will be relatively small. 3. Gender differences are usually largest when the behavior requires specific gender- related skills. For example, men might be especially likely to volunteer to change a tire or perform a similar skill traditionally associated with men in our culture. Communication Patterns -nonverbal: refers to all forms of human communication that do not focus on the actual words (tone of voice, facial expression, and ever how far you stand from another person) Verbal Communication  -women and men are fairly similar in their patterns of verbal communication TALKATIVENESS -studies show no substantial gender differences in the length of college students’ conversations with their friends, their oral description, and their written descriptions of vivid memories -in other research, males are more talkative than females -overall, research shows mixed results, but it does not support the “talkative female” stereotypes INTERRUPTIONS -researchers examine intrusive interruption and find that men tend to interrupt more frequently than women do LANGUAGE STYLE -social setting can be important, for example, hesitant speech was used rarely used when talking to person of the same gender THE CONTENT OF LANGUAGE -women and men were equally likely to talk about four categories of topics (a person of the other gender, a person of the same gender, academic issues, and jobs) -only difference was that men were likely than women to talk about sports Nonverbal Communication  PERSONAL SPACE -refers to the invisible boundary around each person—a boundary that other should not invade during ordinary social interactions -women have smaller personal-small zones than men BODY POSTURE -men use more personal space, and their own postures require greater physical space VISUAL GAZE -research shoes females typically gaze more at their conversations partners than males do -people gaze at females more than they gaze at males FACIAL EXPRESSION -women smile more than men do, in meta-analysis d=0.41 -Algoe and her colleagues study of looking for emotions in males and females pictures DECODING ABILITY -refers to your skill in looking at another persons’ nonverbal behavior and figuring out what emotion that person is feeling -research shoes females are more likely than males to decode nonverbal expressions accurately -Figure 6.2: women were significantly more accurate than men in decoding voices that expressed fear, happiness, and sadness, small but consistent gender differences Potential Explanations for Gender Differences in Communication  -Specifically, men often talk more, interrupt more, have larger personal-space zones, use more relaxed postures, gaze less, and smile less -Men also tend to be less skilled at decoding other people’s facial expressions POWER AND SOCIAL STATUS EXPLANATIONS -researchers argue such as Marianna LaFrance argue that the most effective explanation for gender differences in communication is that men have more power and social status in our culture -also, argue that low power individuals must be especially attentive to powerful individuals so they can respond appropriately SOCIAL LEARNING EXPLANATIONS -Hall and colleagues argue that our culture provides roles, expectations, and socialization experiences that teach males and females how to communicate -social learning approach, children are reinforced for behavior that is consistent with their gender, young girl may be told “let’s see a smile on that face” Characteristics Related to Helping and Caring  -helpfulness actually includes both the high-visibility activities that are stereotypically masculine and also the less visible activities that are stereotypically feminine Altruism -means providing unselfish help to others who are in need, without anticipating any reward -gender similarities are common, although men are more helpful on tasks that are physical dangerous or require expertise in a traditionally masculine area -heroism, defined as risking one’s life for the welfare of other people (9% of Hero Medal recipients were female), meanwhile 57% of “living kidney donors” were women, hence women are somewhat more likely than men to undergo pain and potential medical problems, in order to help another person -Alice Eagly believes that pattern of gender differences in helpfulness can be explained by social roles (a social role refers to a culture’s shared expectation about the behavior of a group that a occupies a particular category such as social category of “men”) Nurturance -kind of helping in which someone gives care to another person, usually someone who is younger or less competent -stereotype suggests that women are more nurturant than men, Blakemore studied preschool girls and boys and found that girls re often higher than boys on measures of nurturance and interactions with a baby, although some preschool boys can overcome the stereotypes Empathy -you show empathy when you understand the emotion that another person is feeling, you exp
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