The Look of Power: Gender Differences and Similarities in Visual Dominance Behavior

  • Steve L. Ellyson
  • John F. Dovidio
  • Clifford E. Brown
Chapter

Abstract

The concept of social power has, at its core, the ability of one person to influence one or more others or to control the outcomes of others (Ellyson & Dovidio, 1985). Social power may stem from the information a person possesses (informational power), the position that a person occupies (legitimate power), the ability to administer favorable outcomes (reward power) or unfavorable outcomes (coercive power), or from the perception of being knowledgeable in the topic at hand (expert power) (French & Raven, 1959; Raven, 1974). These sources of social power may also be referred to as structural power (see Molm & Hedley, Chapter 1 in this volume). Sex is a characteristic that has traditionally been related to actual and perceived social power. In the United States, men disproportionately occupy positions of social, political, and economic power relative to women (Basow, 1986). In addition, gender stereotypes, in the United States and cross-culturally, characterize men as having greater potency, competence, and strength and associate men with higher status and more instrumental roles (Deaux, 1984; Williams & Best, 1986). This chapter examines the relationships among social power, gender, and human nonverbal power displays, particularly involving visual behavior.

Keywords

Gender Stereotype Structural Power Nonverbal Behavior Social Power Visual Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Argyle, M., and Ingham, R. (1972). Gaze, mutual glance, and proximity. Semiotica, 6, 32–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Armitage, M. and Snodgrass, S.E. (1989). Women’s assumption of leadership with men on masculine and feminine tasks. Proceedings and Abstracts of the 1989 Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Vol. 60. Glassboro, NJ.Google Scholar
  3. Basow, S. (1986). Gender stereotypes: Traditions and alternatives ( 2nd ed. ). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, J., Cohen, B.P., and Zelditch, M., Jr. (1972). Status characteristics and social interaction. American Sociological Review, 37, 241–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berger, J., Rosenholtz, S.J., and Zelditch, M., Jr. (1980). Status organizing processes. Annual Review of Sociology, 6, 479–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berger, J., Wagner, D.G., and Zelditch, M., Jr. (1985). Introduction: Expectation states theory. In J. Berger and M. Zelditch, Jr. (Eds.), Status, rewards, and influence (pp. 1–72 ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Bernstein, I.S. (1970). Primate status hierarchies. In L.A. Rosenblum (Ed.), Primate behavior: Developments in field and laboratory research (Vol. 1, pp. 71–109 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  8. Broverman, I.K., Vogel, S.R., Broverman, D.M., Clarkson, F.E., and Rosenkrantz, P.S. (1972). Sex-role stereotypes: A current appraisal. Journal of Social Issues, 28, 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, C.E., Dovidio, J.F., and Ellyson, S.L. (1990a). Reducing sex differences in visual displays of dominance: Knowledge is power. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 16, 358–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, C.E., Dovidio, J.F., and Ellyson, S.L. (1990b). Visual dominance behavior of women in same-and mixed-sex interactions. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH.Google Scholar
  11. Butler, D., and Geis, F.L. (1990). Nonverbal affect responses to male and female leaders: Implications for leadership evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 48–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Camras, L. (1980). Animal threat displays and children’s facial expressions: A comparison. In D.R. Omark, F.F. Strayer, and D.G. Freedman (Eds.), Dominance relations: An ethological view of human conflict and social interaction (pp. 121–136 ). New York: Garland STPM Press.Google Scholar
  13. Capella, J.N. (1985). Controlling the floor in conversation. In A.W. Siegman and S. Feldstein (Eds.), Multichannel integrations of nonverbal behavior (pp. 69103 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Caudill, W. (1958). The psychiatric hospital as a small society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cowan, G., Drinkard, J., and McGavin, L. (1984). The effects of target, age, and gender on use of power strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1391–1398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Darley, J.M., and Fazio, R.H. (1980). Expectancy confirmation processes arising in the social interaction sequence. American Psychologist, 35, 867–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Davis, J.D. (1978). When boy meets girl: Sex roles and the negotiation of intimacy in an acquaintance exercise. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 684–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deaux, K. (1979). Self-evaluations of male and female managers. Sex Roles, 5, 571–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deaux, K. (1984). From individual differences to social categories. American Psychologist, 39, 105–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deaux, K., and Major, B. (1987). Putting gender into context: An interactive model of gender behavior. Psychological Review, 94, 369–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Denmark, F. (1980). Psyche: From rocking the cradle to rocking the boat. American Psychologist, 35, 1057–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Deutsch, M., and Gerard, H. (1955). A study of normative and informational influence upon individual behavior. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 629–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dipboye, R.L. (1985). Some neglected variables in research on discrimination in appraisals. Academy of Management Review, 10, 116–127.Google Scholar
  24. Dipboye, R.L. (1987). Problems and progress of women in management. In K.S. Koziara, M.H. Moskow, and L.D. Tanner (Eds.), Working women: Past, present, and future (pp. 118–153 ). Washington, DC: BNA Books.Google Scholar
  25. Dittman, A.T. (1972). Interpersonal messages of emotion. New York: Springer Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Dovidio, J.F., Brown, C.E., Heitman, K., Ellyson, S.L., and Keating, C.F. (1988). Power displays between women and men in discussions of gender-linked topics: A multichannel study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 580587.Google Scholar
  27. Dovidio, J.F., and Ellyson, S.L. (1982). Decoding visual dominance: Attributions of power based on relative percentages of looking while speaking and looking while listening. Social Psychology Quarterly, 45 (2), 106–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dovidio, J.F., and Ellyson, S.L. (1985). Patterns of visual dominance behavior in humans. In S.L. Ellyson and J.F. Dovidio (Eds.) Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior (pp. 129–150 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dovidio, J.F., Ellyson, S.L., Keating, C.F., Heltman, K., and Brown, C. (1988). The relationship of social power to visual displays of dominance between men and women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 233–242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Drazin, R., and Auster, E.R. ( 1987, Summer). Wage differences between men and women: Performance appraisal ratings versus salary allocation as the locus of bias. Human Resource Management, 26, 157–168. 3. The Look of Power 77Google Scholar
  31. Eagly, A.H. (1983). Gender and social influence: A social psychological analysis. American Psychologist, 38, 971–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Eagly, A.H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  33. Eagly, A.H., and Wood, W. (1982). Inferred sex differences in status as a determinant of gender stereotypes about social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 915–928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Edelman, M.S., Omark, D.R., and Freedman, D.G. (1971). Dominance hierarchies in children. Unpublished manuscript, Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  35. Ellsworth, P.C., Carlsmith, J.M., and Henson, A. (1972). The stare as a stimulus to flight in human subjects: A series of field experiments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 19, 302–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ellyson, S.L., and Dovidio, J.F. (1985). Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior: Basic concepts and issues. In S.L. Ellyson and J.F. Dovidio (Eds.) Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior (pp. 1–28 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ellyson, S.L., Dovidio, J.F., and Corson, R. (1981). Visual behavior differences as a function of self-perceived expertise. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 5, 16 2168.Google Scholar
  38. Ellyson, S.L., Dovidio, J.F., Corson, R.C., and Vinicur, D. (1980). Visual dominance behavior in female dyads: Situational and personality factors. Social Psychology Quarterly, 43 (3), 328–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ellyson, S.L., Dovidio, J.F., Halberstadt, A.G., and Brown, C.E. (1990). Nonverbal and verbal power displays between men and women. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio.Google Scholar
  40. Emerson, R.M. (1972). Exchange theory, part I: A psychological basis for social exchange. In J. Berger, M. Zelditch, Jr, and B. Anderson (Eds.), Sociological theories in progress. (Vol. 2, pp. 38–87 ). Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.Google Scholar
  41. Eskilson, A., and Wiley, M.G. (1976). Sex composition and leadership in small groups. Sociometry, 39, 183–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Etaugh, C., and Kasley, H.C. (1981). Evaluating competence: Effects of sex, marital status, and parental status. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 6, 196203.Google Scholar
  43. Etaugh, C., and Riley, S. (1983). Evaluating competence of women and men: Effects of marital and parental status and occupational sex-typing. Sex Roles, 9, 943–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Exline, R.V., Ellyson, S.L., and Long, B. (1975). Visual behavior as an aspect of power-role relationships. In P. Pliner, L. Krames, and T. Alloway (Eds.) Nonverbal communication of aggression (pp. 21–53 ). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Exline, R.V., Gray, D., and Schuette, D. (1965). Visual behavior in a dyad as affected by interview content and sex of respondent. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1, 201–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Falbo, T., and Peplau, L.A. (1980). Power strategies in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 618–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Fidell, L.S. (1976). Empirical verification of sex discrimination in hiring practices in psychology. In R. Unger and F. Denmark (Eds.), Women: Dependent or independent variable (pp. 779–782 ). New York: Psychological Dimensions.Google Scholar
  48. Firth, M. (1982). Sex discrimination in job opportunities for women. Sex Roles, 8, 891–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. French, J.R., and Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 150–167 ). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  50. Frieze, I.H., Olson, J.E., and Good, D.C. (1990). Perceived and actural discrimination in the salaries of male and female managers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 46–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Frieze, I.H., and Ramsey, S.J. (1976). Nonverbal maintenance of traditional sex roles. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 133–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Gerdes, E.P., and Garber, D.M. (1983). Sex bias in hiring: Effects of job demands an applicant competence. Sex Roles, 9, 307–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Givens, D.B. (1978). The nonverbal basis of attraction: Flirtation, courtship, and seduction. Psychiatry, 41, 346–349.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Halberstadt, A.G., and Saitta, M.B. (1987). Gender, nonverbal behavior, and perceived dominance: A test of the theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hall, J.A. (1984). Nonverbal sex differences: Communication accuracy and expressive style. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Hall, J.A. (1985). Male and female nonverbal behavior. In A.W. Siegman and S. Feldstein (Eds.), Multichannel integrations of nonverbal behavior (pp. 195225 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  57. Hall, J.A. (1987). On explaining gender differences: The case of nonverbal communication. In P. Shaver and C. Hendrick (Eds.), Sex and gender: Review of personality and social psychology, Vol. 7. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  58. Harris, M.J., and Rosenthal, R. (1985). Mediation of interpersonal expectancy effects: 31 meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 97, 363–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Harris, M.J., and Rosenthal, R. (1986). Four factors in the mediation of teacher expectancy effects. In R.S. Feldman (Ed.), The social psychology of education: Current research and theory (pp. 91–114 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Heilman, M.E. (1984). Information as a deterrent against sex discrimination: The effects of applicant sex and information type on preliminary decisions. Organizational Psychology and Human Performance, 26, 386–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Hembroff, L.A., and Myers, D.E. (1984). Status characteristics: Degrees of task relevance and the decision process. Social Psychology Quarterly, 47, 337–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Henley, N.M. (1977). Body politics: Power, sex, and nonverbal communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prenctice-Hall.Google Scholar
  63. Henley, N.M., and Harmon, S. (1985). The nonverbal semantics of power and gender: A perceptual study. In. S.L. Ellyson and J.F. Dovidio (Eds.) Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior (pp. 151–164 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  64. Hillabrant, W. (1974). The influence of locomotion and gaze direction on perceptions of interacting persons. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1, 237–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Hinde, R.A. (1974). Biological basis of human social behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  66. Hogg, M.A., and Turner, J.C. (1987). Intergroup behavior, self stereotyping, and the salience of social categories. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 325–340. 3. The Look of Power 79Google Scholar
  67. Howard, A., and Bray, D.W. (1988). Managerial lives in transition. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  68. Howard, J.A., Blumstein, P., and Schwartz, P. (1986). Sex, power, and influence tactics in intimate relations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 102–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Instone, D., Major, B., and Bunker, B.B. (1983). Gender, self confidence, and social influence strategies: An organizational simulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 322–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Johnson, P. (1976). Women and power: Toward a theory of effectiveness. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 99–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Keating, C.F. (1985). Human dominance signals: The primate in us. In S.L. Ellyson and J.F. Dovidio (Eds.), Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior (pp. 89–108 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Kimble, C.E., and Musgrove, J.I. (1988). Dominance in arguing mixed-sex dyads: Visual dominance patterns, talking time, and speech loudness. Journal of Research in Personality, 22, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Kipnis, D., Schmidt, S.M., and Wilkerson, I. (1980). Intraorganizational influence tactics: Explorations in getting one’s way. Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 440–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Kleinke, C.L. (1986). Gaze and eye contact: A research review. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 78–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Linkey, H.E., and Firestone, I.J. ( 1986, August). Dominance: Nonverbal behaviors, personality trait, and interaction outcome. Paper presented at the 94th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  76. Maccoby, E.E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist, 45, 513–520.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Meeker, B.F., and Weitzel-O’Neill, P.A. (1985). Sex roles and interpersonal behavior in task-oriented groups. In J. Berger and M. Zelditch, Jr. (Eds.), Status, rewards, and influence (pp. 379–405 ). San Francisco: JosseyBass.Google Scholar
  78. Mehta, P., Dovidio, J.F., Gibbs, R., Miller, K., Huray, K., Ellyson, S.L., and Brown, C.E. ( 1989, April). Sex differences in the expression of power motives through visual dominance behavior. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  79. Mitchell, G., and Maple, T.L. (1985). Dominance in nonhuman primates. In S.L. Ellyson and J.F. Dovidio (Eds.) Power, dominance, and nonverbal behavior (pp. 49–66 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Moore, M.M. (1985). Nonverbal courtship patterns in women: Context and consequences. Ethology and Sociobiology, 6, 237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Morrison, A.M., and Von Glinow, M.A. (1990). Women and minorities in management. American Psychologist, 45, 200–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Mullen, B. (1989). Advanced BASIC meta-analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Mullen, B., and Rosenthal, R. (1985). BASIC meta-analysis: Procedures and programs. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  83. Mullen, B., Salas, E., and Driskell, J.E. (1989). Salience, motivation, and artifact as contributions to the relation between participation rate and leadership. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 25, 545–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Nelton, S., and Berney, K. (1987, May). Women: The second wave. Nation’s Business, 18–27.Google Scholar
  85. O’Leary, V.E. (1974). Some attitudinal barriers to occupational aspirations in women. Psychological Bulletin, 81, 809–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Pheterson, G.S., Kiesler, S.B., and Goldberg, P. (1971). Evaluation of the performance of women as a function of their sex, personal history, and achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 19, 114–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Powell, G.N. (1988). Women and men in management. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  88. Raven, B.H. (1974). The comparative analysis of power and preference. In J. Tedeschi (Ed.), Perspectives on social power (pp. 150–167 ). Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  89. Ridgeway, C.L. (1990). The social construction of status value: Gender and other nominal characteristics. Sociology Working Paper Series, University of Iowa, Iowa City.Google Scholar
  90. Ridgeway, C.L., and Berger, J. (1986). Expectations, legitimation, and dominance behavior in task groups. American Sociological Review, 51, 603–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Rosa, E., and Mazur, A. (1979). Incipient status in small groups. Social Forces, 58, 18–37.Google Scholar
  92. Sandler, B.R. ( 1986, October). The campus climate revisited: Chilly for women faculty, administrators, and graduate students. Washington, DC: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American Colleges.Google Scholar
  93. Schein, V.E. (1973). The relationship between sex role stereotyping and requisitemanagement characteristics. Journal of Applied Psychology, 57, 95–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Schutz, W.C. (1958). FIRO: A three-dimensional theory of interpersonal behavior.New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  95. Snodgrass, S.E., and Rosenthal, R. (1984). Females in charge: Effects of sex of subordinate and romantic attachment status upon self-ratings of dominance. Journal of Personality, 52, 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Stier, D.S., and Hall, J.A. (1984). Gender differences in touch: An empirical and theoretical review: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 440–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Thayer, S. (1969). The effect of interpersonal looking duration on dominance judgments. Journal of Social Psychology, 79, 285–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (1989). Report on minority group and sex by pay plan and appointing authority (EPMD Report No. 40, March 31, 1989 ). Washington, DC: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.Google Scholar
  99. Von Glinow, M.A., and Krzyczkowska-Mercer, A. ( 1988, Summer). Women incorporate America: A caste of thousands. New Management, 6, 36–42.Google Scholar
  100. Watson, O. (1970). Proxemic behavior: A cross-cultural study. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  101. Webster, M.A., Jr. (1969). Sources of evaluations and expectations for performances. Sociometry, 32, 243–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Webster, M.A., Jr., and Sobieszek, B.I. (1974). Sources of self-evaluation: A formal theory of significant others and social influence. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  103. Williams, J.E., and Best, D.L. (1986). Sex stereotypes and intergroup relations. In S. Worchel and W.G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 244–259 ). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
  104. Wood, W., and Karten, S.J. (1986). Sex differences in interaction style as a product of perceived sex differences in competence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 341–347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve L. Ellyson
  • John F. Dovidio
  • Clifford E. Brown

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations