Skip to main content Accessibility help

Speaker sex and perceived apportionment of talk

  • Anne Cutler (a1) and Donia R. Scott (a2)

It is a widely held belief that women talk more than men; but experimental evidence has suggested that this belief is mistaken. The present study investigated whether listener bias contributes to this mistake. Dialogues were recorded in mixed-sex and single-sex versions, and male and female listeners judged the proportions of talk contributed to the dialogues by each participant. Female contributions to mixed-sex dialogues were rated as greater than male contributions by both male and female listeners. Female contributions were more likely to be overestimated when they were speaking a dialogue part perceived as probably female than when they were speaking a dialogue part perceived as probably male. It is suggested that the misestimates are due to a complex of factors that may involve both perceptual effects such as misjudgment of rates of speech and sociological effects such as attitudes to social roles and perception of power relations.

Corresponding author
Anne Cutler, MRC Applied Psychology Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 2EF, England
Hide All
Allan, L. G. (1979). The perception of time. Perception & Psychophysics, 26, 340354.
Argyle, M., Lalljee, M., & Cook, M. (1968). The effects of visibility on interaction in a dyad. Human Relations, 21, 317.
Bond, R. N., & Feldstein, S. (1982). Acoustical correlates of the perception of speech rate: An experimental investigation. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 11, 539557.
Brotherton, P. L., & Penman, R. A. (1977). A comparison of some characteristics of male and female speech. Journal of Social Psychology, 103, 161162.
Duncan, S., & Fiske, D. W. (1977). Face-to-face interaction. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Eakins, B., & Eakins, G. (1976). Verbal turn-taking and exchanges in faculty dialogue. In Dubois, B. L. & Crouch, I. (Eds.), The sociology of the languages of American women. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University.
Feldstein, S., & Bond, R. N. (1981). Perception of speech rate as a function of vocal intensity and frequency. Language & Speech, 24, 387394.
Gall, M. D., Hobby, A. K. & Craik, K. H. (1969). Non-linguistic factors in oral language productivity. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 29, 871874.
Grosjean, F., & Lane, H. (1974). Effects of two temporal variables on the listener's perception of reading rate. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 102, 893896.
Grosjean, F., & Lane, H. (1976). How the listener integrates the components of speaking rate. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 2, 538543.
Grosjean, F., & Lane, H. (1981). Temporal variables in the perception and production of spoken and sign languages. In Eimas, P. & Miller, J. L. (Eds.), Perspectives on the study of speech. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Hilpert, F., Kramer, C., & Clark, R. A. (1975). Participants' perceptions of self and partner in mixed sex dyads. Central States Speech Journal, 26, 5256.
Kramer, C. (1975). Women's speech: Separate but unequal? In Thorne, B. & Henley, N. (Eds.), Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Kramer, C. (1977). Perceptions of female and male speech. Language and Speech, 20, 151161.
Markel, N. N., Long, J. F., & Saine, T. J. (1976). Sex effects in conversational interaction: Another look at male dominance. Human Communication Research, 2, 356364.
Preisler, B. (1986). Linguistic sex roles in conversation. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Preston, J. M., & Gardner, R. C. (1967). Dimensions of oral and written language fluency. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 6, 936945.
Rietveld, A. C. M., & Gussenhoven, C. (1987). Perceived speech rate and intonation. Journal of Phonetics, 15, 273285.
Spender, D. (1979, 02). Language and sex differences. Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprach theorie. 3859.
Spender, D. (1980). Man-made language. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Swacker, M. (1975). The sex of the speaker as a sociolinguistic variable. In Thorne, B. & Henley, N. (Eds.), Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Applied Psycholinguistics
  • ISSN: 0142-7164
  • EISSN: 1469-1817
  • URL: /core/journals/applied-psycholinguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed