Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Sex roles and chivalry: Some conditions of gratitude to altruism

  • 553 Accesses

  • 13 Citations

Abstract

In a quasi-field experiment 479 subjects (beneficiaries) were observed as experimenters (benefactors) performed an altruistic act for them. Their responses were classified mainly into shows of gratitude, such as saying “Thank you.” Such amenities are expected in a traditional model of courtly chivalry, i.e., the door-opening ceremony. Experimenters were randomly assigned in a three-factor design, setting × sex of experimenter × sex of subject, with approximately 60 subjects per cell. The town-gown setting (university vs. community library) unexpectedly produced no difference. Traditional pairs (i.e., male benefactors and female beneficiaries) elicited most thanks. Estimated physical attractiveness of subject interacted strikingly with sex in affecting level of thanks shown. Most thankful were plain female beneficiaries for whom male benefactors held doors open. Overall, the data conformed best with a traditional model but also hinted at anomie (tradition in transition).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bar-Tal, D. Prosocial behavior. New York: Halstead Press, 1976.

  2. Bersheid, E., & Walster, E. H. Interpersonal attraction (2nd ed.). Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1978.

  3. Brehm, J. W. A theory of psychological reactance. New York: Academic Press, 1966.

  4. Jones, E. E. Ingratiation: A social psychological analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1964.

  5. McHugh, P. Defining the situation. Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968.

  6. Secord, P. Social psychology in search of a paradigm. Presidential address presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Chicago, 1975.

  7. Sullivan, H. S. The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton, 1953.

  8. Ventimiglia, J. Theoretical convergences in the two social psychologies. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, 1978.

  9. Walum, L. R. The changing door ceremony: Notes on the operation of sex roles. Urban Life and Culture, 1974, 2, 505–515.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

This study owes its inspiration in part and its execution in toto to Rex Perry, Nancy Bird, Mike Bright, Lisa Campbell, Jill Dalley, Mike Edwards, Billy Holbert, Amy Kuehler, Gwen LeBaron, Jerry Minx, Saundra Morris, Kristi Prewitt, Kathy Rice, Ed Sergeant, Joy Sherrell, Ivey Suber, Kerry Trimoli, Kay Wallace, Marty Watkins, and Eva Wood.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ventimiglia, J.C. Sex roles and chivalry: Some conditions of gratitude to altruism. Sex Roles 8, 1107–1122 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00290967

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Traditional Model
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Female Beneficiary
  • Community Library