Discussion dynamics and gender

Fascinating article.

When women were outnumbered by men in groups deciding by majority rule, women received a high proportion of negative interruptions from men. Conversely, when women’s numbers grew, men’s behavior toward women changed – they became much more likely to interrupt with positive expressions of support – a cue that audience is actively engaged in what the speaker has to say.


Men and women who held the floor for a greater percentage of the group’s conversation were dramatically more likely to later be identified by their fellow group members as the “most influential” group participant. Similarly, those who received more positive interruptions from their fellow group members were also more likely to be seen as influential.

One thought on “Discussion dynamics and gender

  1. Fascinating indeed. Another comment, “we find that women experience far worse treatment, and end up far more disempowered, when they are the numerical minority in institutions that use majority rule, because majority rule leads to norms of adversarial or competitive behavior.”

    This reminds us that objections to adversarial culture needn’t mean women are timid mice; it could instead reflect that those who are far fewer tend to lose – e.g., are considered less believable, etc.

Comments are closed.