We investigated the construction of gender in chat groups. Four unacquainted persons chatted in two gender-anonymous conditions and a non-anonymous control condition. In one anonymous condition, the gender focus was made salient. The other groups did not know about the gender focus. All participants had to guess the gender of the others and give reasons for their decisions. Results suggest that (a) overall, 2/3 of gender guesses fit the sex category of the targets, (b) gender anonymity was more comfortable for women, (c) participants used mostly gender-stereotypic cues to infer gender, however, men and women used syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic cues (with different predictive value) to different degrees, (d) conversational behavior varied depending on gender anonymity, and (e) degree of gender salience was irrelevant for the use of gender as an organizing category.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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