Alejandra’s Human Ethology Assignment

Last night I went to Crimson Café to do my ethology experiment.

It was a Monday night, so there were not many people there, and my results are not as exciting, but I could at least observe some of the stages and characteristics.

Focal Sampling

I sat on the upper level of the Café so that I could see everything else and pretend that I was watching TV while looking at the people.

When I got in, I noticed a girl sitting at the bar, talking very vividly to a man. She was sitting very close to her, as well as to other guy who, then I figured out, was there by himself. I thought maybe he was sitting so close to her because there had been more people at the bar before.

The girl I observed was wearing casual clothes (jeans and a long-sleeved shirt) and glasses. I do not think that she was wearing a lot of makeup, if any.

I decided to use her for my experiment, rather than the man, because she was facing me while he had his whole body turned towards her, which I found interesting.

They were talking the whole time while drinking. She seemed very relaxed and comfortable talking to him, but it did not seem to me that they were a couple. Her face was turned towards him but her body was facing another direction.

She kept smiling and laughing but these smiles did not show me any signs of her being sexually interested in the man, but his body language did show interest in her.

I could not observe all the stages in 15 minutes but I did see a lot of eye contact, some attention getting and body movements (maybe not synchrony).

Scan Sampling

During my scans I observed different people. Since it was a Monday night and there were not many people in Crimson Café, not much really changed during the time I was doing my scans, so first I am going to describe the people I saw and then write about their interactions during the scans.

  • There was a couple sitting near my table. They were eating, talking and laughing, especially her, she talked with many exaggerated movements and laughed very loud.
  • The man sitting at the bar by himself that I mentioned before was using his tablet almost the entire time.
  • There was a small table with a guy and a girl, who to me it seemed were just friends. But I was not so sure of this; perhaps it was my own bias because I thought she would be too attractive for him.
  • In another table there was a group of guys having dinner and watching sports together.
  • There were more people at the end of the bar, but it was difficult to see them from where I was.

First scan: The couple were talking and laughing. I noticed that the man with the tablet kept glancing at them, mostly at the woman, but she was focusing all her attention on the man she was with. Their bodies were almost facing each other, even though they were sitting right next to one another. The subject of my focal sampling was still talking to the man. The guy and the girl were getting a little closer to each other because the noise of the guys watching sports was too loud for them to hear each other.

Second scan: Everything is the same. I notice the bar tender started to talk to the couple and laugh, at the same time that the woman in the couple started talking much more loudly.

Third scan: Three people came in, two girls and one guy, but they only stayed for five minutes and left. The guy with the tablet keeps glancing around the room and it seems to me that he is listening to the girl with the glasses’ conversation. The guys are not so loud now, so the girl with the guy sat back on her chair, while the guy is still pointing his body closer to her.

Fourth scan: The guys have left. The couple is leaving. The woman in the couple is saying “bye” to the bartender in a very loud voice. Everything else is the same.

I think that the guy talking to the girl with the glasses definitely wanted to have sex with her, because of the invasive position of his body. While she, even though she seemed comfortable and maintained eye contact, was not very receptive to his body language.

The girl with the guy, I think, were just friends but he showed more interest in her than she did in him.

These intervals were not enough to see all the stages, I got most of my conclusions from body language and eye contact.

Author: Johnna Dominguez

Johnna Dominguez earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Cultural Studies and Body Politics from the University of Alabama's New College in May 2011. In her senior thesis, Johnna explored the embodiment of identity through sexuality and sports by observing and studying Alabama football fans and participants in the local burlesque troupe, the Pink Box Burlesque. In her Master's thesis, she is investigating the psychological and physical stresses associated with southern women who get tattoos. After completing her Master's in Anthropology, she hopes to return to school for a Master's in Public Health.

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