Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 415–426 | Cite as

Sex-related motor behavior: Effects on social impressions and social cooperation

  • Steven C. Hayes
  • Susan R. Leonard


Advances have been made recently in the measurement of sex-related motor behaviors (i.e., sex-typed ways of standing, sitting, walking, and gesturing). While these behaviors are an important dependent variable (e.g., as a measure of sex role), they can also be viewed as an independent variable. The present paper reports two experiments on the effect of sex-related motor behaviors. In the first, videotapes of males and females behaving in extremely sex-typed ways (both “masculine” and “feminine”) were rated on a number of dimensions (e.g., sexual orientation, likeability). In the second, male and female confederates behaving in extremely sex-typed ways approached people and asked for their cooperation in filling out a long survey. Females showing “masculine” motor behavior were thought to be more masculine and unnatural appearing but also elicited significantly more cooperation than when acting feminine. Males showing “feminine” mannerisms were thought to be feminine, unnatural, unlikeable, unconfident, and probably homosexual, and elicited less actual cooperation than when acting masculine. In general, cross-sex motor behavior had mixed social effects with females and consistently negative social effects with males.

Key words

motor behavior sexual mannerisms social judgments of social cooperations homosexuality 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven C. Hayes
    • 1
  • Susan R. Leonard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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