Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between psychological sex typing and patterns of language usage. Seventy-nine Louisiana State University undergraduate students were categorized according to the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (Spence, Helmreich and Stapp, 1975). Sex type groups included: psychologically androgynous (High Masculine/High Feminine); masculine (High Masculine/Low Feminine); feminine (Low Masculine/High Feminine); and undifferentiated (Low Masculine/Low Feminine), for both male (n = 40) and female (n = 39). Three written language samples were gathered for each subject. Subjects were asked to spend ten minutes writing in response to each of the three verbal stimuli. Two of the sentence cues were considered to be sex biased (Horner, 1968) and the third sentence cue was pretested to assure a nomal distribution according to sex. A computerized language program, Syntactic Language Computer Analysis (Cummings and Renshaw, 1976), was used to analyze the two hundred thirty-seven language samples. This program analyzes messages according to a syntactic system which assumes eight qualities of language operationalized by thirty-six variables (Cummings and Renshaw, 1976). Density values for each of the thirty-six variables were calculated. Comparisons were made for each of the thirty-six variables according to sex and sex type of the user. Additionally, language profiles based on these thirty-six variables were generated according to sex and sex type of the language user. Results indicated that psychological sex type does significantly affect the choice of some language variables. Moreover, it was found that for some language variables biological sex and psychological sex type of the language user significantly interact to affect patterns of language production. Female subjects operationally defined as psychologically masculine sex-typed and male subjects operationally defined as undifferentiated distinguished themselves on several language variables. The results of this study suggest that the nature of a stimulus that elicits a verbal corpus significantly affects linguistic variable choices. Of thirty-six language variables measured, twenty differed significantly in terms of frequency of use according to the stimulus situation. Results were discussed in terms of previous empirical data as well as prevailing stereotypes concerning sex-based differences in language behavior.

Pages

113

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