To Nod or Not to Nod: An Observational Study of Nonverbal Communication and Status in Female and Male College Students
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Gender studies show that women and men communicate using different styles, but may use either gender style if there are situational status differences. Considering the universal gesture of head nodding as a submissive form of expression, this study investigated head nodding by observing female and male college students in positions of subordinate and equal status. We observed head nodding (N = 452) in classroom interactions between professor–student and student–student dyads. Overall, women nodded more than men and students nodded more to professors speaking than peers speaking. In addition, female and male students nodded equally to professors speaking, but men nodded less to peers speaking than did women. Thus, both men and women attended to the status and not the gender of the speaker. Future research using varying contexts should further examine the effects of dominance, context, and gender.
Helweg-Larsen, Marie, Stephanie J. Cunningham, Amanda Carrico, and Alison M. Pergram. "To Nod or Not to Nod: An Observational Study of Nonverbal Communication and Status in Female and Male College Students." Psychology of Women Quarterly 28, no. 4 (2004): 358-361. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2004.00152.x