Term of Award

Summer 1985

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Paul Kleinginna

Committee Member 1

Janice Kennedy

Committee Member 2

Daniel Nagelberg

Abstract

Sex differences in style of speech have been found by several researchers (Aries, 1982; McMillan, Clifton, McGrath, & Gale, 1977). The present study examined whether style of speech is sex-typed. Additionally, the influence of situation and sex of subject on the sex-typing of speech patterns was examined.

A total of 144 male and female subjects participated. Subjects were tested in groups, and assigned to one of four conditions: feminine speech patterns/socia1 situation, feminine speech patterns/professiona1 situation, masculine speech patterns/sociaI situation, masculine speech patterns/professiona1 situation. After listening to the appropriate tape recording, subjects were asked to rate the speaker on the Bern Sex Role Inventory (Bern, 1974). A single androgyny score given to the speaker by each subject was obtained. These scores were subjected to a 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance.

The results indicated that feminine speech patterns were sex-typed as feminine (p < .001). While situation alone was not significant, it did interact with style of speech. The speaker using feminine speech patterns was rated as being significantly more feminine in the professional situation than in the social situation (p < .016). Finally, situation was significant for male subjects. Males rated the speaker in the professional situation as being more feminine than in the social situation (ji K. .012).

The findings suggest that feminine speech patterns are sex-typed. Additionally, a feminine style of speech may be appropriate only in a social situation. The findings also suggest that male subjects may view situational variables as less compelling Chan Lnformation about gender. Alternatively, the situational variables in this study may have been ineffective as status cues.

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