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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] Gender difference in moral judgments rooted in emotion, not reasoning, study finds

Gender difference in moral judgments rooted in emotion, not reasoning, study finds | EurekAlert! Science News. (3 April 2015 excerpt)

If a time machine was available, would it be right to kill Adolf Hitler when he was still a young Austrian artist to prevent World War II and save millions of lives? Should a police officer torture an alleged bomber to find hidden explosives that could kill many people at a local cafe? When faced with such dilemmas, men are typically more willing to accept harmful actions for the sake of the greater good than women. For example, women would be less likely to support the killing of a young Hitler or torturing a bombing suspect, even if doing so would ultimately save more lives.

According to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, this gender difference in moral decisions is caused by stronger emotional aversion to harmful action among women; the study found no evidence for gender differences in the rational evaluation of the outcomes of harmful actions.

“Women are more likely to have a gut-level negative reaction to causing harm to an individual, while men experience less emotional responses to doing harm,” says lead research author Rebecca Friesdorf. The finding runs contrary to the common stereotype that women being more emotional means that they are also less rational, Friesdorf says. The journal article was published online in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin on April 3, 2015.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Sickness and health between men and women

From the 19 February 2015 University of Washington press release

by Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

Rosenman-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Gender and personality matter in how people cope with physical and mental illness, according to a paper by a Washington State University scientist and colleagues at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Men are less affected by a single-symptom illness than women, but are more affected when more than one symptom is present. The number of symptoms doesn’t change how women are affected, according to Robert Rosenman, WSU professor in the Department of Economic Sciences.

Rosenman worked with Dusanee Kesavayuth and Vasileios Zikos, both at UTCC in Bangkok, Thailand, on the study.

“Women are more impacted by illness than men, unless more than one symptom is present,” said Rosenman. “Then men are more impacted than women. And perhaps more importantly, personality affects how women handle becoming sick, while men of all types react the same.”

 

February 22, 2015 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Men and women process emotions differently

Men and women process emotions differently 

From the 21 January 2015 University of Basel press release

Women rate emotional images as more emotionally stimulating than men do and are more likely to remember them. However, there are no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal as far as neutral images are concerned. These were the findings of a large-scale study by a research team at the University of Basel that focused on determining the gender-dependent relationship between emotions, memory performance and brain activity. The results will be published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Brain activity when viewing negative emotional images: red and yellow indicates the more active areas of the brain when images are rated as highly stimulating. Green indicates the areas that specifically become more active in women (image: MCN, University of Basel).)

It is known that women often consider emotional events to be more emotionally stimulating than men do. Earlier studies have shown that emotions influence our memory: the more emotional a situation is, the more likely we are to remember it. This raises the question as to whether women often outperform men in memory tests because of the way they process emotions. A research team from the University of Basel’s “Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences” Transfaculty Research Platform attempted to find out.

With the help of 3,398 test subjects from four sub-trials, the researchers were able to demonstrate that females rated emotional image content – especially negative content – as more emotionally stimulating than their male counterparts did. In the case of neutral images, however, there were no gender-related differences in emotional appraisal.

In a subsequent memory test, female participants could freely recall significantly more images than the male participants. Surprisingly though, women had a particular advantage over men when recalling positive images. “This would suggest that gender-dependent differences in emotional processing and memory are due to different mechanisms,” says study leader Dr Annette Milnik.

Increased brain activity
Using fMRI data from 696 test subjects, the researchers were also able to show that stronger appraisal of negative emotional image content by the female participants is linked to increased brain activity in motoric regions. “This result would support the common belief that women are more emotionally expressive than men,” explaines Dr Klara Spalek, lead author of the study.

The findings also help to provide a better understanding of gender-specific differences in information processing. This knowledge is important, because many neuropsychiatric illnesses also exhibit gender-related differences. The study is part of a research project led by professors Dominique de Quervain and Andreas Papassotiropoulos at the University of Basel, which aims to increase the understanding of neuronal and molecular mechanisms of human memory and thereby facilitate the development of new treatments.

Original source
Klara Spalek, Matthias Fastenrath, Sandra Ackermann, Bianca Auschra, XDavid Coynel, Julia Frey, Leo Gschwind, Francina Hartmann, Nadine van der Maarel, Andreas Papassotiropoulos, Dominique de Quervain and Annette Milnik
Sex-Dependent Dissociation between Emotional Appraisal and Memory: A Large-Scale Behavioral and fMRI Study
Journal of Neuroscience (2015) | doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.2384-14.2015

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychiatry, Psychology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article]Stop Looking For ‘Hardwired’ Differences In Male And Female Brains | Popular Science

Stop Looking For ‘Hardwired’ Differences In Male And Female Brains | Popular Science.

Excerpt

…many supposed psychological differences between the sexes are as illusory as the physical ones. In 2005, Janet Hyde, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed data from studies of apparent sex differences in traits such as aggression, social ability, math, and moral reasoning. Nearly four fifths of the traits showed only a minor or negligible difference between men and women.

In the rare cases where actual psychological differences exist, they cannot be attributed to innate neurology alone. Everything in the brain is a combination of nature and nurture. Culture comes into play, which affects behavior, which then affects the brain. From birth (and even in the womb), a baby is labeled as a girl or boy and treated a certain way as a result. For example, a 2005 study of 386 birth announcements in Canadian newspapers showed that parents tend to say they’re “proud” when it’s a boy and “happy” when it’s a girl. Anne Fausto-Sterling, a biologist at Brown University, has shown that mothers talk to infant girls more than infant boys. This could partly explain why girls tend to have better language skills later on. “Some differences end up fairly entrenched in adult human beings,” Fausto-Sterling says. “But that doesn’t mean that you were born that way or that you were born destined to be that way.”

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March 28, 2014 Posted by | Psychiatry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stressed Men Are More Social

I don’t have my hands on the articles now…but recently I have read that men and women really are more alike than they are different..including their psychology…quite different from the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” model….

Obviously, from the related articles below, gender differences (or lack of) is an ongoing research topic in many circles with differing research results.

 

From the 21 May 2012 Science News Daily article

 Freiburg researchers have refuted the common belief that stress always causes aggressive behavior.

A team of researchers led by the psychologists and neuroscientists Prof. Markus Heinrichs and Dr. Bernadette von Dawans at the University of Freiburg, Germany, examined in a study how men react in stressful situations — and have refuted a nearly 100-year-old doctrine with their results. According to this doctrine, humans and most animal species show the “fight-or-flight” response to stress. Only since the late 1990s have some scientists begun to argue that women show an alternate “tend-and-befriend” response to stress — in other words, a protective (“tend”) and friendship-offering (“befriend”) reaction. Men, in contrast, were still assumed to become aggressive under stress. Von Dawans refuted this assumption, saying: “Apparently men also show social approach behavior as a direct consequence of stress.”….

May 25, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

The gender divide when it comes to health tracking online

From the 15 April 2012 article by Susannah Fox at KevinMD.com

Stephen Wolfram’s essay, The Personal Analytics of My Life, begins, “One day I’m sure everyone will routinely collect all sorts of data about themselves.”

A Pew Internet survey suggests we have a long way to go: a September 2010 survey found that 27% of internet users age 18+ track their own health data online. There may be more self-tracking happening offline — please post any measures of that phenomenon in the comments….

I did a quick search for more insights on this Mars/Venus divide and found Matthew Cornell’s post on the Quantified Self blog, Is There a Self-Experimentation Gender Gap? His rough analysis of QS comments, videos, and in-person meetings found a clear difference in participation: about 80% men, 20% women.

Christine McCaull echoed Schulte’s complaint in her comment:

… I’m just too damn busy to measure almost anything regularly except my bank balance, which is calculated for me. Like most women, I’m on a triple shift life plan. I work, I write, I keep a house and raise a big family…

And yet proponents of self-tracking in health need everyone to engage in it and see its worth, not just people with the leisure (or the extreme motivation of a life-changing diagnosis) to do so.

I went back to our data to see if there is a gender divide when it comes to health tracking online. Yes, there is: women are more likely than men to do it.

Breaking it down into the two categories we asked about, we find that 18% of women track their weight, diet, or exercise routine, compared with 13% of men. Twenty-one percent of women track some other health indicators online, compared with 12% of men…

 

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

The Misperception of Sexual Interest

Summary from the 2011 Psychological Science article at http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/group/busslab/pdffiles/The%20Misperception%20of%20Sexual%20Interest.pdf

In the current study (N = 199), we utilized a speed-meeting methodology to investigate misperceptions of sexual interest. This method allowed us to evaluate the magnitude of men’s overperception of women’s sexual interest, to examine whether and how women misperceive men’s sexual interest, and to assess individual differences in susceptibility to sexual misperception. We found strong support for the prediction that women would underestimate men’s sexual interest. Men who were more oriented toward short-term mating strategies or who rated themselves more attractive were more likely to overperceive women’s sexual interest. The magnitude of men’s overperception of women’s sexual interest was predicted by the women’s physical attractiveness. We discuss implications of gender differences and within-sex individual differences in susceptibility to sexual misperception.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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