Drawing on sixteen 45-min-long dyadic same-sex conversations between unacquainted females or males, we used the joystick method by Sadler et al. (J Pers Soc Psychol 97:1005–1020. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016232, 2009) to rate the moment-to-moment levels of affiliation and dominance during the first and last 10 min of these conversations. Besides comparing the behavioral patterns in female and male dyads, we drew on the pre- and post-conversation questionnaires filled by the participants of the rated conversations to study the experiential consequences (valence, arousal, happiness, anxiety) of these patterns. Both genders exhibited the same complementary patterns where affiliation pulls for affiliation and dominance for submissiveness. However, these patterns were experienced differently by females and males. Greater affiliation synchrony increased the levels of happiness and arousal for males, but not for females. In addition, greater dominance coordination predicted a more negative valence change for females than for males. The paper thus points to gender differences in what constitutes a positive interactional experience and suggests a need to revisit social scientific theorizing in this regard.
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