Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Santuzzi, Alecia M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Psychology; Sex role--Study and teaching; Gender identity--Study and teaching


Gender differences in communication patterns have a long-explored history in social psychology, resulting in evidence for a number of different theories building from research in individual differences in personality, social role, and self-categorization theory, as well as intergroup interactions and group status research. This project integrates the theoretical perspectives and examines the extent to which gender differences in communication behaviors vary by situational factors implied by those theories. The following two-part study relies on observational coding of existing social interaction data and a laboratory experiment to examine whether and how men and women alter their behavioral communication patterns as a function of the gender composition in that context. Study 1 used archival data (video-recorded dyadic interactions) to test for differences in men and women's low-status and high-status behavioral patterns. Results found that there were no effects of participant or partner gender on low status behavior, though there were interesting effects on the gender of surrounding others on high status behaviors. The more women a group contained, the fewer the displays of high status behaviors. When each outcome was analyzed separately, analyses also found that groups with more women generated less forward leaning and more direct body orientation. Also, women displayed more nodding and less direct eye contact than men. Study 2 utilized video-recordings of participants in a salient group context to test the possible effects of gender composition on high- and low-status communication patterns. Results for Study 2 show that group composition did not have a significant effect on either verbal or non-verbal behaviors.


Advisors: Alecia M. Santuzzi.||Committee members: Amanda M. Durik; Lisa M. Finkelstein.||Includes bibliographical references.


79 pages




Northern Illinois University

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