Differences in Negotiations with Powerful Males:
Ethological Analysis of Approaches to Nightclub
Frank Salter*, Karl
Grammer** , Anja Rikowski**
* Max-Planck-Society - Filmarchive for Humanethology,
** Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology. Vienna
Human Nature, Fall 2005, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 305-320.
derived from evolutionary theory and previous qualitative observationis
that male and female subordinates deploy different interpersonal signals
to obtainconcessions from powerful males. The present study tested this
hypothesis by means of a quantitative naturalistic observational method.
Would-be patrons were videotaped approaching the entrance of an exclusive
nightclub in Munich, Germany, where doormen control entry. Patrons’
dominance, affiliative, and sexual signals in gestures and dress were
coded for conditions of low and high doorman threat. Although both sexes
used appeasing gestures of smiles and greetings, females deployed many
appeasements using affiliative and courtship signals while males tended
to withhold appeasements by masking agonistic affect. Moreover, when approaching
larger numbers of doormen, males accelerated while females slowed down.
The evolutionary hypothesis was confirmed, at least for our German sample,
that males and females use some different strategies for minimizing threat
from powerful males.