As part of the first day of Psychology Week, the Psi Beta & Psychology Club at Saddleback College hosted “Men and Women in Conversation” on April 14.
The event featured Saddleback and Cal State Fullerton psychology instructor Susan Leavy who explained that men form more competitive social habits than women because of how they socially interact as children. To begin, Leavy passed around a male and female communication quiz and gave everyone some time to complete it.
“Boys’ childhood friendship is focused on what?” Leavy said directly from the quiz. “Activities. Boys are constantly playing games in large groups.”
Leavy went on to explain how girls, in contrast, get together in much smaller groups.
“Little girls are in couples and triads that are much more intimate,” Leavy said. “That’s why it’s easier for them to dislike each other and cause drama.”
Many of the men in the room chuckled at Instructor Leavy’s statements.
“Boys and girls begin socializing very differently from a very young age,” Leavy said.
Since men grow up competing against each other in large groups, their social habits as adults are developed in a way to compete against their peers.
“Many men have social habits that are geared towards competition,” Leavy said. “In groups, men do things like emphasize differences, value uniqueness and separateness, exchange playful insults, use putdowns and distinguish themselves from others.”
Women, in contrast, have habits that are opposite from those of men. Rather than competing against each other for superior status in a group, women’s social habits are more egalitarian.
“Women’s habits are different,” Leavy said. “Women downplay differences and emphasize similarities, they strive to connect- not separate, they try to be equal and they downplay their accomplishments.”
At the end of the lecture, Leavy reminded the audience that even though men and women tend to have different social habits, these listed characteristics are not always 100 percent true.
“Not all men and women are the same,” Leavy said. “Individuals differ from one another and men and women actually have more in common than they think.”
Leavy concluded the lecture by reminding students that the most important thing in being a successful communicator is to understand people’s differences and treat each individual accordingly.
“Be knowledgeable of key differences,” Leavy said. “Understand style differences, respect others’ style and adapt your own style as needed.”