Pop Culture Versus Research:
How Gender is "Perceived" in Non-Verbal Communication
Student Name Here
November 10, 2006
Pop Culture Versus Research:
How Gender is Perceived in Non-Verbal Communication
When selecting a topic for my research paper I started with the idea of exploring the differences in body language used by the different genders. I changed my focus after I read the information presented by two mainstream magazines targeted specifically for women and men. To obtain a woman's perspective I chose an article from Cosmopolitan magazine titled "6 Body-Language Mistakes All Couples Make". For a masculine view I chose an ...view middle of the document...
(2006, pg. 124) What struck me as significant about Ms. Booth's article was the fact she researched the topic extensively. She sites work from three separate communications experts with certified credentials in the field of communications. The first is Audrey Nelson, PhD, author of You Don't Say. The second author is Kevin Hogan, PsyD, and coauthor of the book Irresistible Attraction: Secrets of Personal Magnetism. Lastly, she quotes from the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Body Language, written by relational communications professor Peter A. Anderson, PhD, San Diego State University. Ms. Booth's article was extremely well written and delved into the aspects of making a relationship work through learning how to communicate more effectively. Although the article is written from a woman's perspective, as well as being published in a woman's magazine, I found the article to be beneficial to either gender.
The article explains in detail how to interpret facial expressions, body position and posture, the key to touching, and how misinterpreting body language compared to the verbal message causes problems, as all being key aspects of the communication process. Ms. Booth gives examples of both male and female behaviors and common misinterpretations. One thought I found intriguing, and I wish my wife would learn to understand, is when the author states on pages 126 and 127 that a misconception common to women is the way they interpret the following:
"His posture is slumped over, so clearly something's wrong. And because he's
not talking, he must be hoping you'll coax it out of him. Digging to find out
what's eating someone shows that you care, so it's understandable that you'd
have the urge to conduct a round of 20 questions…" "But when your guy, on
the other hand, shows this same shut-off body language, he's not inviting you
to poke and prod. Rather, it's a way for him to say, "I'm dealing with something…privately." (Booth, 2006)
There are times when women need to understand that men, in an effort not to blurt out something that will offend, or worsen the situation, needs time to think and formulate a response in a logical manner.
It is not a sign of indifference to the situation, rather a response learned through social identification. In the book Nonverbal Behavior in Interpersonal Relationships the authors state the fact there is not one characteristic that determines the difference between the genders; it is made up of several characteristics to include heredity, modeling, and reinforcement or conditioning. Many of our behaviors to include the gender specific use of body language are learned through modeling. That is to say that a young boy patterns his behavior from that of his father's, whereas a young girl learns to imitate the behaviors of her mother. (Richmond et al, 1987, pg. 206) The authors further state that there are significant differences in the way the genders communicate through nonverbal...