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Beliefs about female and male nonverbal communication


Participants (N= 441) rated from 1 to 10 how frequently or well they believed hypothetical women and men performed each of twenty nonverbal behaviors or skills. Women were believed to use more expressive and involved nonverbal behaviors than men, and to be more skilled at sending and receiving nonverbal messages. Men were believed to be louder and more interruptive, and to display more nervous, dysfluent behaviors. Ratings given to females by females were higher than were ratings in the other gender combinations for over half the variables, which may accurately describe female—female interaction. Perceived gender differences correlated positively with differences reported in observational studies, indicating that beliefs about nonverbal gender differences were generally accurate.

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The authors wish to thank Tom Leahy for his assistance in data collection.

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Briton, N.J., Hall, J.A. Beliefs about female and male nonverbal communication. Sex Roles 32, 79–90 (1995).

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  • Gender Difference
  • Observational Study
  • Social Psychology
  • Nonverbal Behavior
  • Nonverbal Communication