New research suggests that men are not less emotional than women, contrary to popular opinion.
Emotions and feelings are commonly interpreted in different ways depending on the person’s gender. The University of Michigan conducted a study which dismisses common stereotypes by investigating how being “emotional” as a man and as a woman is interpreted.
Adriene Beltz, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of psychology at the university, describes how men becoming emotional, such as during a sporting event, are said to be “passionate”. Conversely, when women display emotions – provoked or not – they are said to be “irrational”.
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The study was conducted over 75 days and documented the wide range of daily emotions of 142 men and women. They separated the women into four groups – one with a natural cycle, and the three others depending on their forms of oral contraceptive.
They found variations in emotions using three methods and then compared the results of both sexes. Results displayed little to no dissimilarities between the two genders, which means that emotions in both men and women vary the same amount. However, changes in emotions are probably due to different reasons depending on gender.
Dr Beltz explains: “We also didn’t find meaningful differences between the groups of women, making clear that emotional highs and lows are due to many influences – not only hormones.”
The team believe that the study results have widespread implications. Throughout history, women have often been dismissed in research due to the belief that they are more hormonal and more emotional, a variation which can’t be controlled.
Dr Beltz added: “Our study uniquely provides psychological data to show that the justifications for excluding women in the first place (because fluctuating ovarian hormones, and consequently emotions, confounded experiments) were misguided.”