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Communication Accommodation in Mixed Gender Dyads

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Stupka, Rebecca
Winterrowd, Erin
Volume VI, December 2011, pp.64-78.
Dec 2011
Gender differences in communication; Communication; Interpersonal communication; Interpersonal relations
Men and women speak differently. That is, there are observable patterns of gender differences in communication. To reconcile differences and facilitate communication it is necessary to use accommodation, the process of adjusting patterns toward or away from a conversational partner. Past research on accommodation has been limited to laboratory settings, in which conversational topics are assigned or suggested and participants are put in an unfamiliar situation with unfamiliar conversational partners. This study extends research on gender accommodation by using unobtrusive observation of male-female dyads in conversation within the public domain. Consistent with the literature, I hypothesized that women would exhibit more convergent accommodation behaviors than men overall; that in conversations in which the topic is stereotypically feminine, men would exhibit more convergent accommodation behaviors than women; and that in high-stress conversations both partners would exhibit divergent accommodation behaviors. Results indicate strong support for the first hypothesis, but do not show support for the second and third hypotheses. Furthermore, the results indicate some deviation from past laboratory research within the factors affecting accommodation and in stereotypical conversational indicators in use during this study.
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