2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Gender and Interruption: Perceptions of Power
Jeanette M. Jackson
Dr. Mary Shapiro, Faculty Mentor

It has been proposed that if men interrupt women in conversation, it is because they have a power advantage. This paper addresses how outsiders to a conversation judge interrupter and interruptee, and the effects of gender on these judgments. 64 student volunteers each listened to one of three versions of the scripted conversation (man interrupts woman, woman interrupts man, man does not interrupt woman) and then completed a written evaluation. The results suggest that: (1) People judge interrupters as more powerful. (2) Male interrupters are seen as more powerful, more acceptable, more in control of the conversation and more likeable than female interrupters, and more likeable than men who do not interrupt. (3) The gender of the judge was not significant. This study suggests that we hold men and women to different standards when it comes to interrupting.

Keywords: gender, interruption, power, sociolinguistics

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-1
Location: VH 1304
Time: 8:15

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