Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Pamela Sadler

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The purpose of this research is to investigate whether there are gender differences in the perceptions of affiliations of dominance behaviour over a large sample of social interactions. We were particularly interested in the variability of these perceptions and whether they differ in men’s and women’s perceptions of themselves and others. This research utilizes the framework of interpersonal theory, in which the two main features of people’s behaviour, affiliation and dominance, are proposed to be unrelated to each other and form a circumplex structure. In study 1, a subset of personality adjectives was selected, which demonstrated good circumplex structure. These adjectives were used in study 2, in which participants were asked to report on their own and others’ interpersonal behaviour for all significant interactions over a period of three weeks using Palm Pilot technology. We hypothesized that women’s self-ratings would vary more along the affiliation dimension and men’s self-ratings would vary more along the dominance dimension. That is, we postulated that men and women tend to have narrowed interpersonal worlds where women are more affiliation-focused and men are more dominance-focused. We also hypothesized that gender differences may be present in perceivers’ ratings of others’ interpersonal behaviours. We expected that individuals would attend more to differences in other women’s affiliation and other men’s dominance over time. The results revealed that both genders were more attentive to affiliation distinctions in ratings of self and others during mixed-sex interactions. The lack of support for the gender hypotheses suggests that there may be more gender similarities than differences in individuals’ variability of affiliation-focus and dominance-focus when examining interpersonal interactions over time.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons