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Title:The role of ethnicity and gender in evaluating observed social interactions
Author(s):Kim, Suhkyung
Advisor(s):Dolcos, Florin
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social interaction
Emotion Evaluation
Interpersonal Touch
Sex Differences
Abstract:Non-verbal behaviors may facilitate effective social interactions, which are crucial aspects of human life. Among non-verbal behaviors, interpersonal touch has an important role in social interactions because of its emotional impact. However, it has remained ambiguous how ethnicity and sex differences affect the interpretation of interpersonal touch in observed social interactions. In the present study, the impact of ethnicity and sex differences on the positive effect of a particular form of interpersonal touch - the handshake - were investigated. Subjects from two ethnic groups, Caucasian and East Asian, were asked to watch and rate a series of video clips illustrating guest-host interactions, which were preceded or not by a handshake. Four ethnicity types and the sex were manipulated in the creation of host characters. Three main findings were identified. First, ethnicity and sex differences modulated the evaluation of the general outcome of social interaction. Second, participant’s ethnicity modulated the positive effect of the handshake in social evaluation. Third, culture-related sex differences, especially with respect to the hosts, modulated the positive effect of the handshake in social evaluation. These results indicate that ethnicity and sex differences modulate observer evaluation of the outcome of general social interaction and also the positive effect of interpersonal touch. Further investigations using fMRI may offer additional explanations of the role of ethnicity and sex differences during social evaluations at a neural level.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Suhkyung Kim
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12

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