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Unformatted text preview: Gender and Nonverbal Communication Introduction Nonverbal patterns of communication differ from culture to culture and also between groups within a culture. Two major types of nonverbal message are those indicating dominance or status and those indicating emotional warmth and expressiveness. These two types of messages match some of our stereotypes about males (dominant) and females (warm). A person's nonverbal behavior varies with the setting--and also often with whether they are male or female. Space We can send clear nonverbal messages with our use of space. Territories are areas we control. People need our permission to enter our territories, such as our rooms, cars, or apartments. Personal space is the area around our bodies, our comfort zone. How big or how small our personal space is varies with the situation and with the others who are present. High status individuals can and do "violate" the territory and personal space of lower status individuals. Males often have larger territories and larger personal spaces than do females. Males are more likely to enter the personal space of females than females are to enter the personal space of males. Body Posture Relaxed body postures that take up space convey high status and dominance. Men use a wider variety of appropriate body postures in public than do women. Men's postures are often comfortable and take up space. Appropriate body postures for women are often rigid, tucked in positions that take up little space. Smiling Smiling can convey warmth and can also convey low status or subordination. Women tend to smile more than men do. Social Eye Contact When someone speaks to us we can convey our attention and respect by making eye contact, looking away briefly, and then resuming eye contact. Social eye contact is more typical of lower status than of higher status individuals. Women are more likely to maintain social eye contact with men than men are to maintain social eye contact with women. Staring Making unbroken eye contact with another is called staring. Dominant individuals stare at others more than subordinate individuals do. Men stare more at women than women stare at men. Physical Size Our metaphors suggest that we "look up" to people we respect. Height is associated with status. Men are frequently taller than women. Verbal space In groups of men and women, men tend to speak more often than do women and to interrupt women who are speaking more often than women interrupt men who are speaking. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course PS 261 taught by Professor Belle during the Spring '08 term at BU.
- Spring '08