ERIC Number: ED174548
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: N/A
Person Perception in Male-Female Communication: Theory and Cultural Qualifier.
Ruhly, Sharon; Sprague, Jo
The paper suggests that culturally determined patterns of perception should be related to Fritz Heider's attribution theory in order to understand differences of perception in male-female interaction. The first section explains Heider's theory as a complex process in which past experiences with the person or act may influence perceptions. For instance, a stumble by a person "known" to be clumsy will be perceived as a clumsy act, whereas an action perceived as "aggressive" may lead the observer to attribute aggressiveness to the actor's personality. The second section applies the theory to the professional situation and the home setting, using one specific sex difference -- patterns of interruption--as an illustration. In order to be heard at a board meeting, for example, a woman may have to speak more loudly than usual. This action may cause the men present to view the interruption as more important than the woman intended; the woman may become known as an aggressive, pushy person. In the home situation, interruption by the wife may be interpreted as "bitchiness" or the blame may be placed on the environment, i.e., pushy feminist influences. The third section discusses field sensitivity and field independence in assessing cross-cultural applicability of Heider's theory. These cultural patterns of perception refer to the tendency to synthesize or to analyze elements in the perceptual field. Heider's theory implies the superiority of the field independent or analytic approach. Thus, his theory should be reconsidered with particular attention given to whether and how sexes and cultures differ in perceptions. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: San Jose State Univ., CA.