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Strangers in a Strange LabHow Personality Shapes Our Initial Encounters with Others$
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William Ickes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372953.001.0001

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(p.34) 3 Sex
Strangers in a Strange Lab

William Ickes

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how initial interactions vary according to their gender composition; that is, whether the interaction involves two males, two females, or a male paired with a female. In general, the level of interactional involvement is greatest in the initial interactions of two females, intermediate in the male—female interactions, and least in male—male interactions. However, claims by previous writers that males are insensitive and unmotivated interaction partners are simply false, as the author's research findings show. And although certain misunderstandings probably do play a role in male—female interactions, hardly any gender differences are evident in these interactions, suggesting that previous claims regarding gender differences have been greatly exaggerated.

Keywords:   sex, gender differences, gender composition differences, male—male dyads, male—female dyads, female—female dyads, interactional involvement, social sensitivity

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