The functional significance of structural and sex-related differences in greeting behavior was analyzed through systematic observation of naturally-occurring contact-greetings. Ss were 152 greeting dyads, composed of airline travelers and their greeters. Greeting sequences were found to contain one or more of seven discrete types of behavioral components. Type of greeting varied with location in sequence and sex-composition of dyad. The handshake, mutual-lip-kiss, and face-kiss occurred early in greeting sequences, whereas hand-to-upper-body was the characteristic terminating act. Male-male dyads typically engaged in a brief, mutual handshake. In contrast, female-female and cross-sex dyads displayed relatively longer contacts, composed of mutual-lip-kisses, mutual-face-contacts, embraces, and hand-to-upper-body touches.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Blurton-Jones, N.B. (Ed.)Ethological studies of child behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Callan, H.Ethology and society. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
Cheyne, J.A. Communication, affect, and social behavior. In L. Krames, Pliner, P., and Alloway, T. (Eds.)Aggression, dominance, and individual spacing. New York: Plenum Press, 1977.
Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. Similarities and differences between cultures in expressive movements. In R. Hinde (Ed.),Non-verbal communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Firth, R. Verbal and bodily rituals of greeting and parting. In J.S. La Fontaine (Ed.),The Interpretation of ritual. London: Tavistock, 1972.
Frieze, I.H., & Ramsey, S.J. Nonverbal maintenance of traditional sex roles.Journal of Social Issues, 1976,32, 133–141.
Goffman, E.Relations in public. New York: Basic Books, 1971.
Grant, E.C. An ethological description of non-verbal behaviour during interviews.British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1968,41, 177–184.
Hall, E.T. Proxemics.Current Anthropology, 1968,9, 83–108.
Henley, N.M. Power, sex, and nonverbal communication.Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 1973,18, 1–26.
Jourard, S.M. An exploratory study of body-accessibility.British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1966,5, 221–231.
Kendon, A. The role of visible behaviour in the organization of social interaction. In M. von Cronach & I. Vine (Eds.),Social communication and movement. London: Academic Press, 1973.
Kendon, A. Spatial organization in social encounters: Studies in the F-Formation system. In A. Kendon (Ed.),Studies in the behavior of social interaction. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1977.
Kendon, A., & Ferber, A. A description of some human greetings. In R.P. Michael & J.H. Crook (Eds.),Comparative ethology and behavior of primates. New York: Academic Press, 1973.
Krivonos, P.D., & Knapp, M.L. Initiative communication: What do you say when you say hello?Central States Speech Journal, 1975,26, 115–125.
La Barre, W. The cultural basis of emotions and gestures.Journal of Personality, 1947,16, 49–68.
McGrew, W.C.An ethological study of children's behavior. New York: Academic Press, 1972.
Morris, D.Intimate behavior. New York: Random House, 1971.
Morris, D.Manwatching: A field guide to human behavior. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1977.
Post, E.Etiquette, The blue book of social usage. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1953.
Roth, H.L. On salutations.Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1889,19, 164–181.
Scheflen, A.E. Behavioral programs in human communication.Behavioral Science, 1968,13, 44–55.
Schiffrin, D. Handwork as ceremony: The case of the handshake.Semiotica, 1974,12, 189–202.
Schiffrin, D. Opening encounters.American Sociological Review, 1977,42, 679–691.
Siegel, S.Nonparametric statistics for the behavioral sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956.
Smith, W.J.The behavior of communicating: An ethological approach. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977.
Weitz, S.Sex-roles: Biological, psychological and social foundations. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
The authors would like to thank Susan Greenbaum and Neil Salkind for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and Joe Lucke for his assistance in the data analysis.
About this article
Cite this article
Greenbaum, P.E., Rosenfeld, H.M. Varieties of touching in greetings: Sequential structure and sex-related differences. J Nonverbal Behav 5, 13–25 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00987051
- Social Psychology
- Functional Significance
- Systematic Observation
- Sequential Structure
- Behavioral Component