Do Men Tend to Interrupt More Than Women?

The upcoming elections have been under a lot of focus recently. A big part of the entire process are the presidential debates. Everyone tuned in to watch the first of the two dmaxresdefaultebates and analyzed every minute that it lasted. One of the things that came up was the high frequency of interruptions. Donald Trump appeared to be interrupting his competitor quite frequently, however, he was not interrupted as much. Different organizations tallied the interruptions between the two candidates and while they may not agree on the specific numbers, they all saw that Trump interrupted Hillary a lot more than she interrupted him. One article even analyzed the effects of these interruptions on each of the candidate’s performances. The article explained how the candidates walk a fine line between appearing to be assertive or aggressive. These interruptions, especially in debates show off the personalities of the speakers. Whether or not Trump appeared to be assertive or aggressive is for the viewers to decide, however, it is important to note that even things as simple as interruptions can affect us.

The article also referenced to several studies which have been conducted since the 1970’s to see whether men tend to interrupt more than women. Most studies related to this topic are observational experiments. There is little way of controlling conversations. Studies in 1975 saw researchers hanging around train stations, coffee shops, etc and recording conversations. Results from one such study revealed that out of the 48 noted interruptions, men were responsible for 47 of them. Seeing that there was little data collected at the time, one can doubt the findings and believe that it was just the work of chance. Hence more studies were conducted to test the hypothesis. While these other studies did not show such a big difference between the number of interruptions made by men and women, they did show that on average men did tend to interrupt more. Not only that, but a recent study even claimed that men were more likely to interrupt women than they would other men. The study’s conclusions are based on an observational experiment involving conversations for 15 hours over a period of four weeks. In approximately 900 minutes of conversation, the conductor (Kieran Snyder) noted 314 interruption-rateinterruptions. Of all the data collected, she made several observations on the frequency of interruptions and noted that third variables such as the number of people involved int he conversation and setting affect the number of interruptions. Her own study took place in a formal setting and involved 4-5 people. Based on these external factors, she concluded that men do infect interrupt more than women. Out of the 314, men were responsible for 60% of the interruptions.

All three studies, including several others, conclude that men do interrupt more than women. The reasons to explaining why would need us to explore several other studies about psychological mindsets of men and women and the nature of our male-dominant society.


Trump & Clinton Image

Interruption Rate Graph

  1. Pappas, Stephanie. “Do Interruptions Hurt Presidential Candidates? What the Science Says.” Live Science, Health. N.p., 7 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
  2. Robb, Alice. “Why Men Are Prone to Interrupting Women.” Disrupting The Interrupting. N.p., 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
  3. Snyder, Kieran. “How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 23 July 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

1 thought on “Do Men Tend to Interrupt More Than Women?

  1. Catherine Drinker

    This is super interesting! I think that studies can vary depending on the men and women in the study and their personalities but often, men try to be the dominate one and interrupting can be a way to take that “power” that society has expected them to have for centuries. It is unfortunate anyone interrupts anyone, no matter what gender, especially during something like the presidential debate when it is key to hear both sides of the speakers.

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