, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 127-140

Interpersonal Reasons for Interpersonal Perceptions: Gender-incongruent Purpose Goals and Nonverbal Judgment Accuracy

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Abstract

Women’s tendency to outperform men on measures of accuracy in interpreting the meaning of nonverbal behavior might be due to such measures being more congruent with women’s interpersonal goals than men’s. The present study examined undergraduate men’s and women’s (N = 41) nonverbal judgment accuracy on the Interpersonal Perception Task-15 (IPT-15; Costanzo & Archer, 1993 [.The interpersonal perception task-15 (IPT-15). Berkeley: University of California Center for Media and Independent Learning) when the purpose for using their judgment skills was manipulated to be either congruent or incongruent with stereotypic “masculine” and “feminine” interpersonal goals. Results showed that each gender was at a relative disadvantage in judgment accuracy in the gender-incongruent goal conditions: women were relatively less accurate when they thought the IPT-15 measured judgment skills of use to interrogators in the military, whereas men were relatively less accurate when they thought the IPT-15 measured judgment skills of use to social workers in the social services. Discussion centers on the importance of matching individuals’ interpersonal goals to the purpose goals of the measure when using measures of interpersonal sensitivity.