EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 8, Special Issue 3, 2016
Is this Stall Taken? Territoriality in Women’s Bathroom Behavior
Cormier, B., Langille, L., Daley, S., Roddi, J., Blanchard, J., Metzen, K., & Fisher, M.
Ruback and Juieng (2006) found that people who have parked a vehicle in a public parking space exhibit territoriality when an intruder is waiting in a car for the same spot. They argue that a parking space represents a small, temporary territory that one may feel compelled to possess and defend. Based on this study, we investigated whether these findings could be extended to the context of women’s public bathroom stalls, which are similar to parking spaces in that they are temporarily occupied and have clear boundaries. We hypothesized that women take longer to exit a bathroom stall when there are others waiting. We conducted an observational study where women were timed for how long they spent in the bathroom stall when there was no one waiting, versus when there was a line, in two locations. Overall, the hypothesis was not supported, as average time spent in the stall did not significantly differ according to the presence or absence of waiting individuals. However, in one sample where there may be a sense of camaraderie, tentative results suggest women take longer in the stall when there is no line. In the second sample where individuals do not know each other, there was no difference. We discuss the need for examining territorial behaviour in modern contexts, and the importance of human ethological research.
How to cite this article:
Cormier, B., Langille, L., Daley, S., Roddi, J., Blanchard, J., Metzen, K., & Fisher, M. (2017). Is this stall taken? Territoriality in women’s bathroom behavior. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 8, Sp. Iss. (3), 16-23.