Are Women the More Emotional Sex? Evidence From Emotional Experiences in Social Context
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Type of Work25 pages
Citation of Original PublicationBarrett, LF, Robin, L, Pietromonaco, PR, Eyssell, KM. "Are Women the More Emotional Sex? Evidence From Emotional Experiences in Social Context." Cognition and Emotion 12(4):555-578 · July 1998
The present study examined whether sex differences in emotion are related to the social context and addressed differences between global, retrospective, and on-line, momentary self-descriptions of emotional experience and expression. Participants provided global, retrospective descriptions of their emotional characteristics at an initial session, and then provided momentary emotion ratings as well as details about the social context in which they experienced their emotions over a one-week period. We predicted and found that sex-related differences in emotion in global self-descriptions, but not in the averaged momentary ratings of emotion. Furthermore, only sex of the interaction partner elicited sex differences in emotionality; participants experienced and expressed more emotion when in opposite-sex dyads. Although most of the other context variables were themselves associated with emotional experience or expression, suggesting that they were emotionally evocative, none emerged as elicitors of sex differences in emotional experience; felt intimacy in the interaction was associated with sex differences in ratings of emotional expression. Together, the findings present certain caveats to the widely held belief that women are the more emotional sex.