Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Men And Women Found More Similar Than Portrayed In Popular Media

Date:
September 19, 2005
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
The popular media has portrayed men and women as psychologically different as two planets -- Mars and Venus -- but these differences are vastly overestimated and the two sexes are more similar in personality, communication, cognitive ability and leadership than realized, according to a review of 46 meta-analyses conducted over the last 20 years.

WASHINGTON -- The popular media has portrayed men and women aspsychologically different as two planets -- Mars and Venus -- but thesedifferences are vastly overestimated and the two sexes are more similarin personality, communication, cognitive ability and leadership thanrealized, according to a review of 46 meta-analyses conducted over thelast 20 years.

According to the meta-analysis of studies on gender differencesreported on in the current issue of the American Psychologist, malesand females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than differenton most but not all psychological variables, said psychologist Janet S.Hyde, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Psychologicaldifferences based on gender were examined in studies that looked at anumber of psychological traits and abilities to determine how muchgender influenced an outcome. The traits and variables examined werecognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, social orpsychological traits like aggression or leadership, psychologicalwell-being like self-esteem, motor behaviors like throwing distance andmoral reasoning.

Gender differences accounted for either zero or a very small effect formost of the psychological variables examined, according to Hyde. Onlymotor behaviors (throwing distance), some aspects of sexuality andheightened physical aggression showed marked gender differences.

Furthermore, gender differences seem to depend on the context they weremeasured in, said Hyde. In studies where gender norms are removed,researchers demonstrated how important gender roles and social contextwere in determining a person's actions. In one study where participantsin the experimental group were told that they were not identified asmale or female nor wore any identification, neither sex conformed to astereotyped image when given the opportunity to act aggressively. Theydid the opposite to what was expected.

Over-inflated claims of gender difference seen in the mass media affectmen and women in work, parenting and relationships, said Hyde. Studiesof gender and evaluation of leaders in the workplace show that womenwho go against the caring, nurturing stereotype may pay for it dearlywhen being hired or evaluated. This also happens with the portrayals ofrelationships in the media. Best-selling books and popular magazinearticles assert that women and men can't get along because theycommunicate too differently, said Dr. Hyde. Maybe the problem is thatthey give up prematurely because they believe they can't change whatthey mistakenly believe is an innate trait, she added.

Children also suffer the consequences of these exaggerated claims ofgender difference. There is a wide spread belief that boys are betterin math than girls, said Dr Hyde. But according to this meta-analysis,boys and girls perform equally in math until high school where boys dogain a small advantage. Unfortunately, elementary agedmathematically-talented girls may be overlooked by parents who havelower expectations for a daughter's success in math versus a son'slikelihood to succeed in math. Research has shown that parents'expectations for their children's math success relate strongly to achild's self-confidence and his or her performance.

The misrepresentation of how different the sexes are, which is notsupported by the scientific evidence, harms men and women of all agesin many different areas of life, said Dr. Hyde. "The claims can hurtwomen's opportunities in the workplace, dissuade couples from trying toresolve conflict and communication problems and cause unnecessaryobstacles that hurt children and adolescents' self-esteem."

###

Article: "The Gender SimilaritiesHypothesis," Janet Shibley Hyde, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin -Madison; American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 6.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Men And Women Found More Similar Than Portrayed In Popular Media." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050919082317.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2005, September 19). Men And Women Found More Similar Than Portrayed In Popular Media. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050919082317.htm
American Psychological Association. "Men And Women Found More Similar Than Portrayed In Popular Media." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050919082317.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins