Men and Women in Interaction: Reconsidering the Differences

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Oxford University Press, Feb 29, 1996 - Social Science - 304 pages
For many years the dominant focus in gender relations has been the differences between men and women. Authors such as Deborah Tannen (You Just Don't Understand) and John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) have argued that there are deep-seated and enduring differences between male and female personalities, styles, even languages. Elizabeth Aries sees the issue as more complex and dependent on several variables, among them the person's status, role, goals, conversational partners, and the characteristics of the situational context. Aries discusses why we emphasize the differences between the sexes, the ways in which these are exaggerated, and how we may be perpetuating the very stereotypes we wish to abandon. For psychologists and researchers of gender and communication, this book will illuminate recent studies in gender relations. For general readers it will offer a stimulating counterpoint to prevailing views.


1 The Elusive Truth About Women and Men
2 Task and Expressive Roles in Groups
3 Dominance and Leadership in Groups
4 The Function and Patterning of Interruptions in Conversation
5 Language Use and Conversation Management
6 The Content of Conversation
7 Gender Stereotypes and the Perception and Evaluation of Participants in Interaction
8 Conclusions Explanations and Implications
Author Index
Subject Index

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Page 3 - Not only do men and women communicate differently but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need, and appreciate differently.
Page 5 - To recast our findings slightly, the data suggests that men pro-act, that is, they initiate relatively long bursts of acts directed at the solution of the task problem, and women tend more to react to the contributions of others.
Page 4 - fitting" ways of behaving and thinking (Von Glaserfeld, 1984). Rather than passively observing reality, we actively construct the meanings that frame and organize our perceptions and experience. Thus, our understanding of reality is a representation, not an exact replica, of what is out there. Representations of reality are shared meanings that derive from shared language, history, and culture. Rorty (1979) suggests that the notion of accurate representation is a compliment we pay to those beliefs...

About the author (1996)

Elizabeth Aries received her B.A. at the University of Michigan and her M.A. and Ph. D. at Harvard. She spent two years as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University, and has been Professor of Psychology at Amherst College since 1975. She has also written numerous papers on gender and communication.

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